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December 14-20, 2015 / Vol 34, No 50 / Hawai`i Island, USA

11 Dec 2015, 20:37 UTC
December 14-20, 2015 / Vol 34, No 50 / Hawai`i Island, USA
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International Human and Robotic Moon Missions 2015-2030: China Chang’e-3 Lander, ESA / ESTEC Symposium

As the only operational mission on the lunar surface China Chang’e-3 spacecraft continues to carry the torch for Moon Explorers around the world. Many more missions are on the way and in the next 15 years we should see permanent robotic villages begin to spring up and bear witness to the return of humans to the surface and eventual development of sustainable crewed habitats. CE5 sample return is planned to launch 2017 with 2 backup craft on deck: CE4 far side mission in collaboration with Europe, others in 2018 and CE6 sample return by 2020. It is widely expected that China will integrate the Shenzhou / Tiangong human spaceflight program to manifest Human missions to the Moon in the 2020s. In Europe ESA’s Estrack network and flight dynamics team provided critical support to CE3 during the 5-day lunar cruise, descent and after landing. ESA Director General Johann-Dietrich Wörner is extremely enthusiastic and more ambitious about Moon exploration than perhaps any of his predecessors, speaking of a “Moon village”. On Dec 15-16 ESA/ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands is hosting the 1st International Symposium On Moon 2020-2030: A New ...

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