Greater demands on engine performance have ranked high among the challenges for China’s Chang’e 4 lunar mission, as program managers looked for ways to achieve a descent to the rugged surface of the far side of the Moon. The landing on Jan. 3 demanded a nearly vertical approach, precise navigation and greater autonomy in engine operation, program officials say. In launching Chang’e 4 on Dec. 8 and its communications relay satellite seven months earlier, the China Lunar ...

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