Chang'e-4 new 'name card' for Chinese aerospace

2019-07-24 09:07:09Global Times Editor : Gu Liping ECNS App Download

Yu Jia, project manager of the Germany-developed LND instrument onboard Chang'e-4 with the University of Kiel in Germany, delivers a speech at the LDSE in Zhuhai, on Monday. Photo: Deng Xiaoci/GT

China's lunar probe Chang'e-4 which carries a China-Germany hybrid scientific research payload and successfully landed on the far side of the moon stands as a "shining name card for Chinese aerospace development," said the payload project manager of the German side on Tuesday.

Yu Jia, of the payload developer at Kiel University, made the statement to Global Times on the sidelines of the 4th International Conference on Lunar and Deep Space Exploration in Zhuhai, South China's Guangdong Province.

In a bid to assess and prepare for future human activities on the moon, the payload Lunar Lander Dosimetry and Neutron (LND) instrument aboard Chang'e-4 is mainly tasked to study the two most harmful radioactive elements to human bodies, said Zhang Shenyi, the LND primary investigator on the Chinese side and an employee of the Chinese Academy of Sciences' National Space Science Center.

Zhang said the payload has been successfully transmitting data back to the Earth as planned. "The data analysis work has been carried out by the Chinese and German scientists and the results will be made public soon," he said.

For the first time for humanity, Chang'e-4 landed on the dark side of the moon. The probe is also the first Chinese lunar probe to carry international payloads.

Yu referred to the LND as a "Chinese-Germany hybrid" during his speech at the LDSE sessions.

The LND combines China's efficiency with Germany's process design capability, Yu noted, and success could not be achieved without either.

The two sides agreed to cooperate in August 2016 and the payload was fully delivered by March 2017 to meet the scheduled launch time by the end of 2018. These eight months set a speed record in German payload development, the project manager said.

German insiders would now be better aware of Chinese efficiency and attention to detail, he said. "Although it was under a tight schedule, the Chinese scientists and reviewers did not allow any chances of error in terms of the payload's performance space."

The environmental testing for payloads should involve eight tests according to German aerospace standards whereas 42 meet Chinese standards. The two sides agreed on 24 after negotiations.

"Even the 24 rounds of environmental assessment were the bottom safety line approved by the Chinese side. China allows no room for mistakes in aerospace," Zhang said.

China also carried out all the connector design among many other efforts to make the German payload fit and function perfectly on the Chinese Chang'e-4 lander, Yu said.

According to Zhang, the successful international cooperation experience of Chang'e-4 will encourage China's future lunar probe mission staff to look to more international efforts and showcase China's quality.

"The challenges and difficulties in coordinating different aerospace standards adopted by different countries will facilitate future cooperation," Zhang said.

China's space authorities are mulling a rollout on international standards to address the differences, he said.

In April, China announced a cooperation plan for its Chang'e-6 mission, offering to carry a total of 20 kilos of solicited payloads, according to the China National Space Administration.

Kiel University, developer of LND, has already filed a payload cooperation proposal in written form to Zhang.

Asked if another German payload would be carried on Chang'e-6, Zhang said that it "would be determined by two factors—the approved funding by the German space agency and the research goals of the Chinese space agency."


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