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Mini mission updates: Dawn in orbit; Curiosity short circuit; Rosetta image release; Hayabusa2 in cruise phase; and more

Emily Lakdawalla • March 06, 2015 • 1

Dawn has successfully entered orbit at Ceres, becoming the first mission to orbit a dwarf planet and the first to orbit two different bodies beyond Earth. I also have updates on Curiosity, Rosetta, Mars Express, Hayabusa2, the Chang'e program, InSIGHT, and OSIRIS-REx.

A new mission for Akatsuki, and status updates for Hayabusa2 and Chang'e

Emily Lakdawalla • February 09, 2015 • 2

Brief updates on four ongoing missions: JAXA's Akatsuki and Hayabusa2, and China's Chang'e 3 and Chang'e 5 test vehicle. JAXA has articulated the new science plan for Akatsuki. Hayabusa2's ion engines have checked out successfully. The Yutu rover is still alive on the Moon, and Chang'e 5 test vehicle has successfully tested crucial rendezvous operations in lunar orbit.

Short updates on Akatsuki and Chang'e missions

Emily Lakdawalla • January 06, 2015 • 1

A few recent newspaper articles provide some updates on the status of Japan's Venus mission, Akatsuki, and the service module of China's Chang'e 5 test vehicle, Xiaofei. In brief: Akatsuki still plans to attempt to enter orbit in December of this year, while Chang'e 5 T1 is headed to lunar orbit. Meanwhile, the Chang'e 3 mission has released an interesting image of M101, the Pinwheel Galaxy.

A new Chang'e 3 and Yutu image archive

Emily Lakdawalla • December 19, 2014

A treasure trove of newly released images from the Chang'e 3 program includes a photo sequence of a waxing Earth and lots of high-resolution views of rover and lander on the Moon.

Chang'e 5 test vehicle flying on to Earth-Moon L2

Emily Lakdawalla • November 03, 2014 • 3

The Chang'e 5 test vehicle service module did not follow the sample return capsule into Earth's atmosphere. Instead, it successfully performed a divert maneuver, and is now on its way to the Earth-Moon L2 point

Chang'e 5 test vehicle "Xiaofei" lands successfully

Emily Lakdawalla • October 31, 2014 • 1

The Chang'e 5 test vehicle landed successfully in Inner Mongolia today after an 8-day mission. It demonstrated technology that China plans to use for automated sample return by the Chang'e 5 mission in 2017.

A (Difficult) Day in the Solar System

Bill Dunford • October 30, 2014 • 13

After a bad day on the launch pad, some perspective.

Chang'e 5 T1 rounds the lunar farside, returns lovely photo of Earth and the Moon together

Emily Lakdawalla • October 28, 2014 • 3

The Chang'e 5 test vehicle's short mission is more than half over. It has rounded the far side of the Moon and is on its way back to Earth for a planned October 31 test of lunar sample return technology. It's not a science mission -- it's an engineering mission -- but it has managed to return an absolutely iconic photo of its distant home, seen across the very unfamiliar far side of the Moon.

UPDATED: China successfully launched test mission for Chang'e 5 program today

Emily Lakdawalla • October 23, 2014 • 2

China launched to the Moon today! The spacecraft will have a brief, 8-day mission, out to the Moon and back. It is an engineering test for the technology that the future Chang'e 5 sample return mission will need to return its precious samples to Earth.

Chang'e 3 update: Both rover and lander still alive at the end of their eighth lunar day

Emily Lakdawalla • July 21, 2014 • 5

Despite the fact that it hasn't moved for 6 months, the plucky Yutu rover on the Moon is still alive. Its signal is periodically detected by amateur radio astronomers, most recently on July 19. A story posted today by the Chinese state news agency offers a new hypothesis to explain the failure of the rover's mobility systems.

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