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Highest honor awarded to Chang'e 5 lunar mission team by International Academy of Astronautics

By ZHAO LEI | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-10-02 15:42

File photo: Photo provided by the China National Space Administration shows Chang'e 5 probe gathering samples on the moon on Dec 2, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

A group of planners, scientists and engineers in charge of China's Chang'e 5 robotic lunar mission have received the highest team award from the International Academy of Astronautics.

At the academy's annual conference on Sunday in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, the Chinese team was conferred the 2023 Laurels for Team Achievement Award.

As the academy's the highest team distinction, the Laurels for Team Achievement Award was created to recognize extraordinary performance and achievement by a team of scientists, engineers and managers in the field of astronautics in order to foster peaceful and international use, according to the Paris-headquartered academy.

On the certificate awarded to the Chinese team, the academy wrote that during the 23-day mission, the Chang'e-5 team successfully completed the complex mission which included a rocket launch, lunar-Earth transfer, lunar sampling, lunar surface takeoff, rendezvous and docking, sample transfer, skip re-entry and many other processes, and obtained two types of lunar samples. It noted the Chinese team has made outstanding contributions to mankind's lunar and deep-space exploration.

Hu Hao, chief designer of the Chang'e 5 mission and a senior planner at the China National Space Administration, said at the award-issuance ceremony that he hopes more scientists and engineers from the international space community could take part in China's lunar exploration projects.

He said the samples retrieved by the Chang'e 5 probe will soon be open to foreign researchers.

One of the world's most notable space activities in 2020, the Chang'e 5 robotic mission was launched in November 2020. It was China's first lunar sample-returning mission and one of its most sophisticated and challenging space endeavors. The landmark mission returned 1,731 grams of rocks and soil back to Earth on Dec 17, 2020, presenting the first lunar substances to humans since the Apollo era.

Before the Chang'e 5, China had deployed two landing craft and two rovers on the moon. The Yutu 2 of the Chang'e 4 mission is still operating on the moon to this day, and continues to send data and images back, remaining as the longest-working lunar rover of all times.

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