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Chinese Mars rover completes test landing ahead of 2020 launch – Spaceflight Now


The test model of the first Chinese rover, set for launch in mid-2020, landed testing on November 14 at a specially constructed facility in northern China's Hebei province. Credit: Xinhua

China conducted a hover and avoidance test on the model of the first Mars rovers in the country, while engineers prepared a real spacecraft to launch on the red planet in mid-2020.

The mission, which consists of orbits, landers and rovers, aims to become the first Chinese spacecraft to reach Mars after launching a rocket long ship on March 5 – the most powerful launcher in the country – during the few weeks of opening the window in July 2020. .

The mission will be launched from the Wenchang Space Center on Hainan Island, China's new spaceport.

China has invited ambassadors and envoys from 19 countries, including the European Union, the African Union, France, Italy and Brazil, to visit the test facility in northern China's Hebei province on November 14 to see a test of land on the mainland Mars. The demonstration tested the ability of the rover to hover and autonomously avoid obstacles during descent under reduced gravity conditions, similar to those on Mars, according to China's National Space Administration.

China is listed as publicly unveiling a mission to Mars, last week this event certified the design of the lander, the Chinese Space Agency reported.

If launched next summer, the mission will arrive in Mars in early 2021 and release a ground module to enter the Martian atmosphere. After landing, the rover will come off the ramp to begin exploring the surface using a set of scientific instruments.

The orbiter will circle Mars to provide communications relay support for the rover and conduct its own scientific measurements.

The orbit module has high and medium resolution cameras, a radar instrument for testing the structure of the Martian underground, a spectrometer for analyzing minerals in the Martian crust, and sensors to collect data on the interaction between the red magnetosphere of the red planet and the solar wind.

Designed three months after arriving on Mars, the rover has its own cameras and radar to study subterranean layers below the mission landing site, along with a spectrometer and a weather station on Mars, according to the National Space Science Center at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The three-piece spacecraft China plans to ship to Mars in 2020 is seen here in the launch configuration. Credit: CASC

China began the development of the Mars mission in 2016.

It will be Earth's second attempt to reach Mars with a robotic probe, following the orbit of Yinghuo 1, which was stranded in Earth's orbit after launching as a payload on Russia's failed Phobos-Grunt mission.

China has landed two robotic spacecraft on the moon, and it plans to launch a third lunar land next year to attempt the first sample mission of the moon in more than 40 years.

Like the Mars mission, Chang's 5-month sample return mission will launch on March 5, one of the most powerful rockets in the world and the heaviest in the Chinese launch list.

While Mars orbits and rovers, which will launch next year, will only carry Chinese cargo, officials used the test on November 14 to announce the country's cooperation with other countries on space projects.

According to a CNSA statement, China has signed more than 140 space cooperation agreements with 45 countries and international organizations.

The Chinese-French Oceanography Satellite and the Chinese Seismic Electromagnetic Satellite launched last year in partnership with scientists from France and Italy, to collect climate measurements and detect predecessor signals that could help predict earthquakes. China has developed a series of Earth observation satellites in cooperation with Brazil, and Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Saudi Arabia have contributed to China's quadruple lunar mission.

China has invited international proposals for small scientific instruments that could fly to the moon on the Chang & # 39; e robot mission 2023. Earlier this month, Chinese and French space officials signed an agreement to fly a French instrument at the Chang & # 39; e mission to measure the transport of volatile substances, such as water molecules, in lunar dust.

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