28 December 2020
2020 was a busy space year for China. Despite a difficult first quarter, the nation was able to launch milestone space missions among them were the Tianwen 1 Mars mission, the completion of the Beidou satellite navigation system, the 1st flights of the Long March 5B and Long March 8 rockets and the Chang'e 5 lunar sample return mission. 2021 will not be less important: the space station assembly is about to begin.
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29 December 2020
The Chang'e 5 return capsule hosted also plant seeds and for the 1st time rice seeds. 40 g of those rice seeds which made it to the lunar orbit and returned after 23 days in deep-space have been cultivated at the National Engineering Research Center of Plant Space Breeding of South China Agricultural University. The research centre got the seeds samples handed over on 23 December. Rice is a model organism in genetic research. Using rice as a deep-space payload to study the evolution of species helps to understand hereditary effects in deep-space. It may also produce beneficial mutations that could be applied to rice seed selection and breeding and boost agricultural production.
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27 December 2020
On 27 December at 23:44 BJT, China sent a Yaogan 33 remote sensing satellite into space from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China. The satellite was launched aboard a Long March-4C rocket and entered the planned orbit successfully. It was the 357th flight the Long March carrier rocket series. The mission also sent a micro and nano technology experiment satellite into orbit. The two satellites will be used for scientific experiments, land resources survey, crop yield estimation and disaster prevention and reduction.
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for better details, check report by Rui C. Barbosa at nasasapceflight.com
Long March 4C lofting of Yaogan Weixing-33 concludes China’s 2020 launch campaign

25 December 2020
In Nature Communications an international team of lunar scientists published an article about how Chang'e 1 and Chang'e 2 data and stratigraphic information was used for automatic crater detection and age estimation. The researchers applied machine-based transfer learning where one data model serves as the starting point for "training" a neural network for solving incremental advanced problems. Through this approach the scientists identified 109,956 new craters which is more than a dozen times greater than the initial number of recognised craters. Additionally, they also estimated the age of 18,996 newly detected craters larger than 8 km in diameter. As a result, a new database for lunar craters in the mid- and low-latitude regions of the Moon could be established.
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link to publication in Nature Communications

25 December 2020
The re-entry capsule of the Shenzhou 10 manned spacecraft was handed over to Shaoshan County in central China's Hunan Province on 25 December. The spacecraft will be stored and exhibited in Shaoshan Mao Zedong Memorial Museum. The Shenzhou 10 mission launched on 11 June 2013, with 3 taikonauts on board: Nie Haisheng, Zhang Xiaoguang, and Wang Yaping. Zhang Xiaoguang was present during the hand-over ceremony in Shaoshan. Earlier, CNSA said that some of the Chang'e 5 lunar samples would also be exhibited in the museum in Shaoshan.
2020 also marked 50 years since Mao approved China's first manned spaceflight programme (Project 714), which included the Shuguang I spacecraft. Shuguang which was never built but is considered as "laying an important foundation for the development of the later manned space programme".
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Shenzhou 10 capsule for the Mao Zedong Memorial Museum

25 December 2020
All testing of the core module for the Chinese Space Station CSS has been completed and testing of the CZ-5B launcher is in its final phase.
Once the core module is in orbit, the Tianzhou 2 cargo spacecraft and Shenzhou 12 manned spacecraft will be launched. The Shenzhou 12 crew will stay in space for several months before Tianzhou 3 will launch and the Shenzhou 13 will send the 2nd space station crew. "During this period, we will carry out comprehensive verification of the new technologies of the space station, including astronauts' spacewalk, robotic arms and energy technologies," Zhou Jianping, Chief Designer of China's manned space project said.
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