China finally gets to go to Mars as Long March 5B successfully launches Tianwen-1 probe/rover

by | Jul 23, 2020 | China, exploration, Launches, Satellites

China successfully launched the Tianwen-1 mission on a Long March 5B launch vehicle at 0441 GMT on 23 July. The rocket was launched from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on Hainan Island, China. Tianwen-1 consists of an orbiter and a rover to study the planet Mars. The spacecraft are expected to arrive at Mars in February 2021.

Tianwen-1 mission is launched on its way to Mars by a Long March 5B (CZ-5B) rocket. Courtesy: Xinhua

 

While China has had significant success with its human spaceflight and Chang’e lunar probe and rover space programmes, there was one embarrassing gap: Mars. A previous attempt at launching its small Yinghuo 1 orbiter to the planet as a “hitchhiker” failed. This utilised the Russian Proton rocket-launched Phobos-Grunt mission, but was ended by a host spacecraft-related launch failure in late 2011.

The embarrassment was exacerbated that its regional competitor India had managed to join the previous superpowers the USA and Russia with its Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), which was launched in late 2013.

Worst of all, it has just beaten to the punch by the United Arab Emirates whose Hope orbiter mission to the planet was launched just a few days before on 19 July. In other words, China will now be the fifth space nation to reach Mars rather than its hoped for fourth.

Nevertheless, it has to be realised that the Chinese Tianwen-1 is a much superior mission to Hope, which only involves an orbiting probe spacecraft. The Chinese mission also includes the landing of a Mars rover. To date, only the USA has successfully managed to land a rover on the planet. Russia has had several failures. It did manage to land a exploratory landing craft Mars 03 on the planet in 1971 but it only worked for 20 seconds before telemetry was cut.

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to www.seradata.com/spacetrak

Related Articles

China lands rover on Mars

Mars is now the red planet in more than one way: on 14 May, China successfully landed its Zhurong rover Read more

Three Mars missions arrive at same time: UAE’s Hope Probe, China’s Tianwen and finally USA’s Mars 2020 Rover Perseverance (Updated)

Just like London buses, three Mars missions all seemed to arrive at the same time. While this was mainly due to Read more

NASA Mars 2020 mission with Perseverance rover launched by ULA Atlas V

Lifting-off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, a ULA Atlas V 541 rocket has carried the Mars 2020 mission into orbit. The Read more

UAE has its HOPE space probe launched to Mars by H2A rocket

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) joined the space race in spectacular style. With the help of a Japanese Mitsubishi Heavy Read more

JAXA approves MMX sample return mission to Phobos

On 19 February 2020, JAXA, alongside the Japanese government approved the development of the MMX mission. MMX - Martian Moon Read more

NASA celebrates the landing success of its Mars InSight mission

At 2101 GMT on 27 November 2018, via UHF signals converted to X-band signals on two released Mars Cube One (MarCO A and B) data Read more

New NASA Administrator Bridenstine gets his little chopper out…for Mars of course

NASA has announced that it is to send its "Mars Helicopter", a small autonomous rotorcraft, to Mars with the agency’s Read more

On a lighter note: Musk to send his Tesla car on Mars equivalent trajectory…but will he claim mileage?

While Elon Musk has stated that his primary loves are his sons – he does have other loves.  Apart from various beautiful women - it is Read more

Categories

Archives

Tags