China’s Chang’e-5 spacecraft successfully boarded the BJT at 5:42 a.m. Sunday and docked with an orbiter-returner combination in lunar orbit, the Chinese National Space Agency (CNSA) said.
This is the first time that a Chinese spacecraft will meet and dock in lunar orbit, which also marks the first human attempt to automate encounters with lunar orbit.
Samples collected on the moon weighing about 2 kilograms were transferred from the carrier to the return site, according to CNSA.
The Chang’e-5 mission is one of the most complex in Chinese aviation history and also the world’s first lunar sampling mission in more than 40 years.
The Chang’e-5 spacecraft containing an orbiter, lander, lander and retractor was launched on November 24, and its lander-lander combination touched north of Mons Rumker on Oceanus Procellarum, also known as Ocean of Storms, on the near side of the moon on December 1.
After the samples were collected and sealed, the riser took off from the lunar surface on 3 December.
The return orbiter then separates from the ascending one and waits for the right time to begin its journey back to Earth.
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(With input from Xinhua)