Author Topic: LIVE: Chang'e-3 lunar probe and rover, CZ-3B - Xichang - December 1, 2013  (Read 167648 times)

Offline Steven Pietrobon

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OK, we know that Chang'e 3 is heading for Sinus Iridum, but does anybody know where exactly in Sinus Iridum?
« Last Edit: 12/03/2013 06:57 AM by Steven Pietrobon »
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OK, we know that Chang'e 3 is heading for Sinus Iridum, but does anybody know where exactly in Sinus Iridum?

Mark Robinson (Principal Investigator, LROC) speculated the landing site might be near the rim of Laplace A.
http://lunarnetworks.blogspot.com/2013/11/a-great-place-to-rove-sinus-iridum-and.html

He further writes, "Once Chang'e 3 has landed, LROC should be able to spot the lander and the rover; LRO will be above Laplace A on 25 December, 22 January, and 18 February. The LROC team looks forward to posting images of the two vehicles!"
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Offline luhai167

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But that brings us back to some very fundamental questions, such as what is driving the Chinese lunar program. Is it primarily science? Or is it primarily developing engineering capability? Or is it a near equal mix of both? I would not simply assume that they want to go bigger and bigger, not until we have an idea of why they are doing any of this.
IMO these are actually pretty useless questions to ask, and no answers given by the source will ever be believed anyway.

Poppycock. That position is just an excuse to not think about the why, just watch the pretty pictures and talk about rockets. It's like saying "Why? Reasons!"

Somebody sets the policy in the Chinese space program. And they clearly have a policy, both for human spaceflight, and for their lunar robotic program. This stuff just doesn't happen via immaculate conception. Look at the progression from CE-1 to 2 to 3. Increases in technology, capability, and science goals. What's the driver? Is there a roadmap that says "Do X first, followed by Y, followed by Z"? (They must have some kind of roadmap, otherwise they wouldn't be doing X, Y and then Z.) Do they have a science priorities committee that does this? How does the Chinese space program establish their priorities, and what are those priorities? And who is doing it? Who are the officials who are making the call? Just because we don't know the answers now doesn't mean that there are no answers.

For starters, the Chinese Academy of Sciences appears to be involved. That would be a good place to start.

And I'd note that the reason I'm asking these questions is that I'm pretty familiar with how it happens in the United States (being directly involved in it). Over here stuff doesn't "just happen," so my guess is that it doesn't just happen in China either.

Understanding that is a good step to figuring out what they might do after CE-6.

Some history on this, from official Chinese new reports (in Chinese of course)
http://news.163.com/13/1201/00/9EVGR1GO00014JB6.html

Some highlights of the timeline

1. Chinese Lunar Exploration Study group was established in 1991 as part of Project 863. (That project itself was started in 1986 headed then by Wang Ganchang to found technology and science programs in China)
2. The Study group submitted its conclusions as a feasibility study to the State Council in 1994
3. Lunar Resource, Exploration and Scientific study group was established in 1998 to come up with a detailed plan of lunar exploration in 2000. 《中国月球资源探测卫星科学目标》From the official "leaks" since, we know the following: The plan sets 3 large phases, with each phase containing 3 major phase. The Large phase are “探” (Probe or Unmanned exploration)、“登” (Walk, or manned exploration)、“驻(住)” (Stay, or Moon base).  The first 3 little phase plan, later would become CE1 to CE6.
4. In 2000, parts of the plan was published as part of the 2006 white paper on Chinese Space exploration. You can read it here in English.
http://www.fas.org/spp/guide/china/wp2006.pdf
5. Between 2000 and 2004, a series of working group was established on specific goals, instructions, vehicles etc. And submitted a formal space program for approval.
6. The program was approved in 2004, and formally named Chang'e and CLEP was established.
7. CE1 completed in 2006, with CE2 starting work in 2006. CE1 launched in 2007, CE2 in 2010
8. CE3 Started work in 2009, and launched in 2013

So the whole thing took 10 years to plan it, without funding to launching a single thing. That's a lot of time to figure out why, how and when. Would love to read the internal memos.
« Last Edit: 12/03/2013 09:35 AM by luhai167 »

Offline Galactic Penguin SST

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Finally got some good introduction materials about the science instruments on the lander and rovers! Here is the list of institutes involved in the development and operation of the instruments:

Lander

* MastCam: Institute of Optics and Electronics (IOE), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)
* Descent Camera: Beijing Institute of Space Machinery and Electricity (BISME), China Academy of Space Technology (CAST)
* Lunar-based Ultraviolet Telescope (LUT): National Astronomy Observatory of China (NAOC), CAS
* Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUV): Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics (CIOMP), CAS

Rover

* PanCam: Xian Institute of Optics and Precision Mechanics (OPT), CAS
* Ground Penetration Radar (GPM): Institute of Electronics, CAS
* VIS/NIR Imaging Spectrometer (VNIS): Shanghai Institute of Technical Physics (SITP), CAS
* Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS): Institute of High Energy Physics (IHEP), CAS

The payload control systems on both the lander and rover are both built by the Technology and Engineering Center for Space Utilization of CAS.

Detailed information on the individual instruments will come very soon...
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Offline Galactic Penguin SST

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MastCam

Objectives: Acquisition of landing area optical photographs for surveying the terrain and geological features of the landing zone.

Position: On top of the mast of the lander

Features:

* Acquisition of landing zone photographs
* Monitor the movement of rover on the lunar surface
* With multi-color imaging ability
* Can shoot both photographs and videos
* Can tweak focusing automatically
* With ability to minimize scattered lights and image compression

Major sub-systems: Optical system, Mechanical system


« Last Edit: 12/06/2013 07:40 AM by Galactic Penguin SST »
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Offline Galactic Penguin SST

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Descent Camera

Objectives: Acquisition of landing area optical photographs for surveying the terrain and geological features of the landing zone at altitudes between 2-4 km.

Position: At the bottom of the lander

Features:

* Highly miniaturized design; light weight, small volume, low energy consumption, high performance
* Can withstand high levels of radiation, temperature difference and violent vibrations at launch
* CMOS sensor used
* High-speed static grey-scale image compression used
* Has automatic focusing

Major sub-systems: Optical system, Imagery receiving and processing electric box
« Last Edit: 12/06/2013 07:50 AM by Galactic Penguin SST »
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Offline Galactic Penguin SST

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Lunar-based Ultraviolet Telescope (LUT)

Objectives: Making use of the absence of atmosphere and slow rotation of the Moon to observe selected variable celestial objects and sky areas in the near ultraviolet region.

Position: -Y side of the lander

Features:


* First ever astronomical observation made from surface of other planetary objects for prolonged periods
* Highly automated; can aim and point to various targets with the telescope mount automatically
* Light weight achieved via using composite materials and structure optimization
* Highly adaptable to the lunar surface environment; can operate between -20 and 40 degrees Celsius

Major sub-systems: Telescope body and frame (left); reflector lens and telescope mount (right), electric cable mount and control systems
« Last Edit: 12/06/2013 07:49 AM by Galactic Penguin SST »
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Offline Galactic Penguin SST

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Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUV)

Objectives: Imagery of the Earth's ionosphere in the extreme ultraviolet region; investigations into space weather forecasting and ionosphere studies

Position: Top side of the lander

Features:

* Can track Earth automatically; will perform long term imagery monitoring of scattered extreme ultraviolet radiation from the Earth's ionosphere
* Operational wavelength is 30.4 nm (about 1/20 of visible light)
* FOV 15 degrees (region covers about 7.5 Earths)
* Can operate between -25 and 75 degrees Celsius; has ability to survive and operate in the highly variable thermal environment of the lunar surface
* First extreme ultraviolet camera operating from the lunar surface

Major sub-systems: Extreme ultraviolet multi-membrane optical imagery system; Extreme ultraviolet photon counter sensor; Signal processing unit; Pointing control system; Main control unit
« Last Edit: 12/06/2013 07:56 AM by Galactic Penguin SST »
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Offline Galactic Penguin SST

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PanCam

Objectives:
Acquire 3-D imagery of the lunar surface for surveying the terrain, geological features and structures, and craters inside the target region. Also monitors the operational state of the lander.

Position:
Top of the mast of the rover

Features:

* Uses simplified optical system and highly miniaturized design, making the cameras light-weight, small volume, low energy consuming and highly reliable
* Can operate between -25 and 55 degrees Celsius and able to survive between -40 and 75 degrees Celsius
* Focusing operational between 3m and infinity
* Have both automatic and manual focusing; can automatically adjust the field brightness

Major sub-systems: Twin PanCams (A & B), each with one optical system, mechanical system, electronics and thermal control parts
« Last Edit: 12/06/2013 08:04 AM by Galactic Penguin SST »
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Offline Galactic Penguin SST

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Ground Penetration Radar (GPM)

Objectives: Measure lunar soil depth and structural distribution of soil, magma, lava tubes and sub-surface rock layers 

Position: Inside the rover

Features:

* Channel I operates at 60MHz - for probing sub-surface geological features down to meter-level resolution; maximum depth >100 m
* Channel II operates at 500MHz - for probing lunar soil depth with resolution better than 30 cm; maximum depth >30 m
* The antennas can survive temperatures of -200 to 120 degrees Celsius
* Miniaturized design, low energy consumption, high performance (the pictures on the left side are the results of testing the two radar channels at the Laohugou #12 glacier in Gansu province)

Major sub-systems: Radar controller, channel I/II antennas and transmitter, electric cables etc. (right side from top to bottom: channel I transmitter, channel II transmitter, channel II antenna, channel I antenna)
« Last Edit: 12/07/2013 04:48 AM by Galactic Penguin SST »
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Offline Galactic Penguin SST

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VIS/NIR Imaging Spectrometer (VNIS)

Objectives: Measure the composition and resources of the lunar surface via imaging and spectrometry in the visible and near-infrared wavelengths

Position: Beneath the rover's top deck

Features:

* Utilizes RF-driven tunable light & ultrasound spectrometry
* Utilizes new design ultrasound generators
* Have anti-dust accumulation and in-orbit calibration functions
* Miniaturized design, light weight, high performance (photos on the right are the sample spectra and photos of Labradorite simulated moon soil, quartz crystals and LLB simulated moon soil)

Major sub-systems:   Tunable light & ultrasound spectrometer optical system, ultrasound-driven target guiding, dust repelling and thermal control components, composite outer case, main control system and data processing module
« Last Edit: 12/07/2013 05:25 AM by Galactic Penguin SST »
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Offline Galactic Penguin SST

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Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS)

Objectives: Measure the composition and distribution of various elements on the lunar surface via observing the scattered X-rays from the bombardment of alpha particles of rocks

Position: On the rover's robotic arm

Features:

* Includes active particle scattering, in-situ determination of lunar surface element, in-orbit calibration and distance measurement functions
* The sensor can re-calibrate itself through the use of standard calibration targets
* Rover's lunar night survival contains a radioisotope heater unit (RHU) for keeping the sensor warm
* Low energy consumption, light weight, high resolution and high sensitivity semi-conductor sensor used

Major sub-systems: (from left to right) sensor, RHU, calibration target
« Last Edit: 12/07/2013 05:24 AM by Galactic Penguin SST »
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Offline Galactic Penguin SST

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The 2nd mid-course correction burn should have occurred at 08:20 UTC, but nothing has been reported till right now. I'm hoping that this is not an indication of a problem....  :-\
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Offline Jester

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China news reporting debris hit 2 houses, no injuries reported so far.

http://www.chinanews.com/tp/hd2011/2013/12-03/272452.shtml
« Last Edit: 12/03/2013 02:03 PM by Jester »

Offline Galactic Penguin SST

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China news reporting debris hit 2 houses, no injuries reported so far.

http://www.chinanews.com/tp/hd2011/2013/12-03/272452.shtml

The owner of the houses were reported to have received compensations of $1770 US (the one photographed above) and $ 850 US respectively.  :-\ http://bbs.9ifly.cn/forum.php?mod=redirect&goto=findpost&ptid=11199&pid=275684

BTW any news reported from ESA about the 2nd mid-course correction? There are rumors that there might be a problem during the burn (as indicated by the lack of news till now)
« Last Edit: 12/03/2013 02:12 PM by Galactic Penguin SST »
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