Xinhua said it was China's first "rendezvous and docking in lunar orbit".
The orbiter-returner of China's Chang'e-5 probe has separated from the ascender, waiting for the right time to return to Earth with lunar samples, the China National Space Administration announced on Sunday.
"We're excited to join with our commercial and worldwide partners to make Artemis the largest and most diverse global human space exploration coalition in history", Mike Gold, NASA's acting associate administrator for worldwide and interagency relations, said in a statement. The plan was to collect 2 kg of samples.More news: HOF pitcher, longtime broadcaster Don Sutton dies at 75
A Chinese probe that landed on the Moon has transferred rocks to an orbiter in preparation for returning samples of the lunar surface to Earth for the first time in nearly 45 years, the space agency has announced.
It added that this was the first time that China had achieved take-off from an extraterrestrial body.
The robotic vehicle has stored the samples and will now dock with the orbiting Chang'e-5 for the return journey to Earth.More news: Harden, Durant Star as Nets Edge Bucks 125-123
After arriving in an Earth orbit, the orbiter-reentry capsule pair will break up in due course, and the reentry capsule will conduct a series of complicated maneuvers to return to a preset landing site in North China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region in mid-December.
"We think it's very important to establish the precedent that the private sector entities can extract, can take these resources but NASA can purchase and utilize them to fuel not only NASA's activities, but a whole new dynamic era of public and private development and exploration on the Moon", Gold said. "The moon is a big place with differences in terrain", said Australian astronaut Maurice Jones.
China launched a robotic spacecraft on November 24 to bring back rocks from the moon in the first bid by any country to retrieve samples since 1976. The two kilograms now on board "Song 5" came from a volcanic area named after German astronomer Carl Romker (1788-1862).More news: Coronavirus: Germany extends COVID lockdown until February 14
The Chang'e 5 touched down Tuesday on the Sea of Storms on the moon's near side. This latest flag is expected to last for many years on the moon and it was developed by the China Space Sanjiang Group under the state-owned China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp (CASIC). The young astronaut wants to experience the success of a man landing on the moon in the future. Hipster-friendly internet buff.