SCIENCE CHINA Technological Sciences, Volume 60 , Issue 5 : 658-667(2017) https://doi.org/10.1007/s11431-016-9034-6

An overview of the mission and technical characteristics of Change’4 Lunar Probe

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  • ReceivedDec 27, 2016
  • AcceptedMar 10, 2017
  • PublishedApr 17, 2017


Change’4 Lunar Probe will softly land on the farside of the Moon for the first time of all mankind and carry out in-situ and rovering exploration. In this paper, the scientific significance and engineering difficulties of Change’4 are introduced and the probe’s general design, including the aspects of landing site selection, relay communication, trajectory design of relay satellite is explained. Besides, four key technologies, namely safe landing strategy on complex terrain, orbit design and control of libration point 2, relay communication on L2, radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) and electric-thermal utilization, as well as how to realize them are also discussed. Finally the prospect of the prominent technological breakthrough of Change’4 is described.


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  • Figure 1

    Elevation diagram of South-Pole Aitken Basin.

  • Figure 2

    The topography of nearside and farside of the Moon.

  • Figure 3

    Relay communication link profile.

  • Figure 4

    Earth-Moon L2 orbit profile [7].

  • Figure 5

    Flight profile of relay satellite.

  • Figure 6

    Electromagnetic wave flux density of near-Moon space [8].

  • Figure 7

    The map of the Earth-Moon liberation points.

  • Table 1   Relay communication phases



    Luna rover

    Earth-Moon transfer

    Directly communicates with ground TT&C stations


    Moon orbiting

    a) Directly communicates with ground TT&C stations;

    b) Test on relay communication link


    Powered descent

    a) Telemetry and Telecommand data transmission with relay satellite;

    b) Return imaging data of landing camera via relay satellite


    Working on Lunar surface

    TT&C and scientific exploration data transmission via relay satellite

    TT&C and scientific exploration data transmission via relay satellite

  • Table 2   Three transfer method


    Perigee velocity at launch

    Time to reach L2

    Velocity impulse (theoretical) (m/s)

    Direct transfer

    Almost 10.9 km/s

    Short (almost 6–7 d)


    Lunar swing-by

    Short (almost 8–9 d)



    Long (almost 3 months–half a year)


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