Chang'e 4 launch schedule?

From: Bill Gray via Seesat-l <>
Date: Sat, 1 Dec 2018 15:40:56 -0500
Hello all,

    In theory,  this Chinese mission to put a rover on the lunar
farside will launch sometime around Friday, Dec 8,  according to

    If anyone has more exact information as to when it'll launch
and where it will go (ephemerides of any sort are welcome),  I'd
appreciate it.  We tracked the previous Queqiao mission (to put
a communications relay at the Earth-Moon L2) point largely through
luck : the folks at Catalina and ATLAS found it in the course of
normal asteroid hunting.  (That,  plus some quick follow-up from
Peter Birtwhistle.)  We may not get so lucky this time.  Some advance
knowledge of where it'll be would really help.

    With a US,  ESA,  or Russian launch,  I usually know who to ask
within the relevant program (or more usually,  can find somebody who
knows somebody who knows who to ask.)  I don't know anyone in the
Chinese space program;  hence the public missive.

    December 8 will be the day after the new moon.  On the plus side,
the surveys will (weather permitting) be going full tilt.  On the
minus side,  I'd expect the orbit to be at a lowish elongation in
the evening sky,  basically heading straight out to intercept where
the moon will be four or five days later.  It's not a direction in
which people tend to look for asteroids.

    My main interest in this is in knowing where the booster goes.
Queqiao's booster re-entered over the Marshall Islands last September
(dunno if anyone saw it,  but we did have enough data to give a
very exact impact prediction for it).  Chang'e 2's booster will re-enter
somewhere over southern Africa on 2019 June 16 (I expect to have a
more exact prediction as we get closer to that date).

    Ideally,  the Chinese would be persuaded to dispose of their lunar
mission boosters set to hit the moon,  ideally at a time when the Lunar
Reconnaissance Orbiter could get data on the impact... might be a nice
gesture of US-Chinese scientific cooperation,  if nothing else.  But as
it stands,  the booster could wind up pretty much anywhere.

Thank you,          -- Bill
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Received on Sat Dec 01 2018 - 14:42:01 UTC

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