Category Archives: Chinese space

Videos: “Space to Ground” & other space habitat reports – Oct.28.2022

Here is the latest episode in NASA’s Space to Ground weekly report on activities related to the International Space Station:

** Expedition 68 Progress 82 Cargo Ship Docks to International Space Station – Oct. 27, 2022 – NASA Video

The uncrewed Roscosmos Progress 82 cargo craft docked to the International Space Station’s Poisk module October 27 following a launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan October 25 atop a Soyuz booster rocket. Progress is filled with almost three tons of supplies and cargo and will remain docked to the space station until early next year.

** Space Station Crew Answers U.S. Naval Test Pilot, Maryland Student Questions – Oct. 27, 2022 – NASA Video

Aboard the International Space Station, NASA Expedition 68 Flight Engineers Nicole Mann, Josh Cassada and Frank Rubio answered pre-recorded questions about life and work on the orbiting laboratory during an in-flight event October 27 with students attending the United States Naval Test Pilot School in Patuxent River, Maryland. Both Mann and Cassada are graduates of the school. Mann, Cassada, and Rubio are in the midst of a science mission living and working aboard the microgravity laboratory to advance scientific knowledge and demonstrate new technologies for future human and robotic exploration missions as part of NASA’s Moon and Mars exploration approach, including lunar missions through NASA’s Artemis program.

** NG-18 Research: UCSD Mudslides Investigation ISS National Lab – YouTube

As part of Northrop Grumman’s 18th Commercial Resupply Services mission to the International Space Station, a research team from the University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego) will send their research to the orbiting lab to better understand gravity’s effects on post-wildfire mudflow.

** Northrop Grumman’s S.S. Sally Ride spacecraft – What experiments are heading to space station? – VideoFromSpace

Learn what science experiments will launch to the International Space Station aboard the Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft. The CRS-18 mission is scheduled to launch on Nov. 6, 2022. The spaceraft is named S.S. Sally Ride to honor first American woman to fly in space:…

** International Space Station Dodges Debris From Russian SatelliteTODAY

The International Space Station fired its thrusters for more than five minutes on Monday to avoid a potential collision with a piece of Russian satellite debris. The debris was created by Russia’s test-firing of a missile last year that destroyed one of its old satellites.

** Designers Explain New Mission of Long March-5B Carrier Rocket – CCTV Video News Agency

Designers from China’s space program have unveiled the details of the Long March-5B carrier rocket family just as one of its members is about to carry the Mengtian lab module into the sky.

** ISS Live video stream – IBM/ISS HD Earth Viewing Experiment

Currently, live views from the ISS are streaming from an external camera mounted on the ISS module called Node 2. Node 2 is located on the forward part of the ISS. The camera is looking forward at an angle so that the International Docking Adapter 2 (IDA2) is visible. If the Node 2 camera is not available due to operational considerations for a longer period of time, a continuous loop of recorded HDEV imagery will be displayed. The loop will have “Previously Recorded” on the image to distinguish it from the live stream from the Node 2 camera. After HDEV stopped sending any data on July 18, 2019, it was declared, on August 22, 2019, to have reached its end of life. Thank You to all who shared in experiencing and using the HDEV views of Earth from the ISS to make HDEV so much more than a Technology Demonstration Payload!


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Chang’e-4 in sleep mode, Videos of rover and the landing, + Cotton shoots sprout

[ Update Jan.16.2019: There has been some confusion about the photos of the cotton plant shoots. A couple of early images circulating in the Chinese press were actually from a ground unit. However, the one shown below is apparently from the lander:


China’s Chang’e-4 mission on the far side of the Moon has begun initial operations with the scientific instruments on board the lander and has taken a short drive of the rover Yutu-2 (Jade Rabbit-2):

An earlier video showing the deployment of the rover:

A press conference was held this week with managers of the Chinese space program, including “Sun Zezhou, chief designer of the Chang’e-4 probe”. They discussed the challenges of operating the systems in the lunar environment: China’s new lunar rover faces challenges on moon’s far side – Xinhua |

Both the lander and the rover entered a “sleep mode” on Sunday as the first lunar night after the probe’s landing fell, according to Wu.

One night on the moon lasts about 14 days on the earth, during which the temperature falls as low as minus 180 degrees centigrade. There is no sunlight to provide power to the probe, which will survive the night with its thermal control system with a radioisotope heat source.

The landing went quite smoothly:

Sun told reporters that the Chang’e-4 probe had achieved the expected landing precision. The telemetry information and images taken by the probe showed that the spacecraft effectively avoided obstacles during its descent.

“It hovered at around 100 meters above the lunar surface and moved about 8 meters towards the southwestern direction. After its landing, we discovered large craters with a diameter of more than 10 meters on both the southern and northern sides of the probe, and it successfully avoided them,” Sun said.

Scott Manley analyzes the landing video:

I took the best video from an official source, then corrected it for real time, interpolated frames to smooth it using butterflow. Then using the high quality video I try to map through all the features we see to provide an idea of how large the craters are.

The scientific experiments on board the lander include a mini-biosphere to demonstrate growing plants on the Moon. A cotton-seed quickly sprouted: China Focus: Moon sees first cotton-seed sprout – Xinhua |

Professor Xie Gengxin, of Chongqing University and chief designer of the experiment, said a canister installed on the lander of the Chang’e-4 probe contained the seeds of cotton, rapeseed, potato and Arabidopsis, as well as eggs of the fruit fly and some yeast, to form a simple mini biosphere.

Images sent by the probe showed that a cotton sprout had started to grow, though no other plants were found growing.

A photo of the shoots: China’s plants sprout on moon’s far side –

“At 8 pm on Jan 12, Chang’e 4 sends back the last photo of the bio test load showing that tender shoots have come out and the plants are growing well inside the sealed test can. It is the first time humans conducted a biological growth and cultivation experiment on the surface of the moon.” – Chongqing University and ChinaDaily.

The plant experiment, however, was a brief one. The seeds will not survive the night-time temperatures.

This sort of research from Chang’e-4 will provide data in support of Chinese human missions later:

A sample return mission – Chang’e-5 – is the next Moon mission on the agenda: China’s lunar exploration program to meet goal of sample returning by 2020: official – CCTVPLUS

The Chang’e-5 probe will be launched by the end of this year and will collect two kg of samples and bring them back to Earth. China plans to launch a probe in 2020 that will orbit, land and rove on Mars the following year, according to Wu.

More reports on Chang’e-5:


Chasing New Horizons: Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto

Chang’e-4: Latest images and videos from lander and rover on lunar far side

Controllers of the Chinese space Chang’e-4 lander and Yutu-2 rover have reactivated the two systems after a standby period during the most intense period of solar heat during the lunar day. Various scientific instruments are being activated, the rover will soon being roving, and cameras are taking pictures such as these panoramas:

Chang’e-4 Yutu-2 first panorama

Here is a circular panorama of the scene around the lander:

Panorama of view around the lander.

The two lander and rover have taken images of one another:

Here’s an interesting video of the landing on January 3rd as seen from the spacecraft: Here’s the amazing footage of the Chang’e-4 landing on the far side of the Moon |

More about the mission:


Einstein’s Monsters: The Life and Times of Black Holes

Space policy roundup – Jan.5.2019

A sampling of links to recent space policy, politics, and government (US and international) related space news and resource items that I found of interest:


** January 5, 2019 Zimmerman/Batchelor podcast | Behind The Black

** Episode T+106: Q&A – Main Engine Cut Off – “This month I tackle questions on future space architectures, companies working in space right now, and finish with a 2018 Top 10 ranking.”

** The Space Show, 12/30/2018Thomas A. Olson ” presented a comprehensive launch, commercial, science, government and private sector overview of 2018 space activities”.

** Weekly Space Hangout: Jan 2, 2019- News Roundup – Universe Today


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China’s Chang’e-4 spacecraft lands on lunar far side

China has successfully placed its Chang’e-4 spacecraft onto the surface of the far side of the Moon. It appears that the rover has also been released. This is the first time that any spacecraft has landed on the lunar far side.

The first image taken by the Chang’e-4 spacecraft of its landing spot on the lunar far side.

The craft landed in the Von Kármán crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin. and is able to communicate with earth using the Queqiao relay satellite, which was launched in May of 2018. The mission will look for clues to the geologic structure and history of the Moon: Chang’e-4 spacecraft – Science Magazine

Chang’e-4 was launched on 8 December 2018 from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province. The landing site is in the Von Kármán crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin. The basin was likely formed by a giant asteroid impact that might have brought material from the moon’s upper mantle to the surface; studying samples taken there might offer scientists the chance to learn more about the composition of the body’s interior. The moon’s far side has a much thicker, older crust and is pockmarked by more and deeper craters than the near side, where large dark plains called maria, formed by ancient lava flows, have erased much of the cratering. Chang’e-4’s observations could give clues to the processes behind the differences.

And there are also instruments to carry out astronomical, solar, and biological research:

The lander carries cameras for observations of the terrain and a low-frequency spectrometer to study solar bursts. The rover has a panoramic camera, a spectrometer for identifying surface materials, and a ground-penetrating radar to probe subsurface structures. Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, and Saudi Arabia contributed payloads that will measure radiation and use low-frequency radio astronomy to listen for faint signals lingering in the cosmos since the formation of the universe’s first stars, among other things. The lander also carries a minuscule biosphere developed by Chinese universities that will study the low-gravity interaction of a number of plants and silkworms.

This video shows various aspects of the Chang’e’4 mission with a mix of animations and real imagery:

The lander has a radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) that will provide power for a mission that aims to last at least three months. A RTG is needed to keep the lander alive and active during the 2-week long cold nights when no solar power is available.

Deployment of the Yutu-2 rover. (Via

More about Chang’e-4:


Einstein’s Monsters: The Life and Times of Black Holes