The Chinese re-entry test lunar orbiter completed its first round trip to the Moon, landing in Siziwang Banner of China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region at 6:42 a.m. on Nov. 1, 2014.
The re-entry process began at around 6:13 a.m., with the orbiter approaching Earth at a velocity of about 11.2 kilometers per second. To help it slow down, the craft was designed to "bounce" off the edge of the atmosphere before re-entering again.
The orbiter was launched on Oct. 24, 2014, from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center and then entered the Earth-Moon transfer orbit.
The researchers will conduct a thorough analysis of data collected from the test lunar orbiter to speed up work on Chang'e-5, the star of the 2017 lunar mission.
The mission marked a "breakthrough" in the third and final phase of the lunar schedule—orbiting, landing, and return—by enhancing understanding of high-velocity re-entry mechanisms as well as the development of new materials and innovative space equipment design.