Chinese Science Bulletin

, Volume 59, Issue 29–30, pp 3858–3867 | Cite as

Orbit determination of Chang’E-3 and positioning of the lander and the rover

  • Yong HuangEmail author
  • Shengqi Chang
  • Peijia Li
  • Xiaogong Hu
  • Guangli Wang
  • Qinghui Liu
  • Weimin Zheng
  • Min Fan
Article Astronomy


Chang’E-3 landed on the east of Sinus Iridum area on December 14, 2013, performing China’s first successful soft landing on the lunar surface. We present the results on precision orbit determination and positioning of the lander and the rover. We describe the data, modeling, and methods used to achieve position knowledge over the period December 2–21, 2014. In addition to the radiometric X-band range and Doppler tracking data, delta differential one-way ranging data are also used in the calculation, which show that they strongly improve the accuracy of the orbit reconstruction. Total position overlap differences are about 20 and 30 m for the 100 km × 100 km and 100 km× 15 km lunar orbit, respectively, increased by ~50 % with respect to CE-2 and at the same level as other lunar spacecrafts of recent era such as SELENE and lunar reconnaissance orbiter (LRO). The position error of the soft landing trajectory is less than 100 m. A kinematic statistical method is applied to determine the position of the lander and relative position of the rover with respect to the lander. The position difference of the lander is better than 50 m compared to LRO photograph result. Compared with the delta very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) group delay between the lander and the rover, the delta VLBI phase delay can improve the relative position of the rover from ~1,000 to ~1 m.


Chang’E-3 Orbit determination Lander Rover 



The authors would like to thank VLBI tracking subsystem at Shanghai Astronomical Observatory for providing the VLBI data used in this paper and thank Beijing Aerospace Control and Command Centre for providing comparative data. We would also like to thank Prof. Dongrong Jiang, Xiuzhong Zhang, Jinling Li, Zhihan Qian, Fengchun Shu, and Xiaoyu Hong et al. for comments and suggestions. This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (11073047, 11173052), the Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai (12DZ2273300), the National High Technology Research and Development Program of China (2012AA121603), the Planetary Sciences Laboratory of Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the Lunar Exploration Project of China.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Science China Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yong Huang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Shengqi Chang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Peijia Li
    • 1
  • Xiaogong Hu
    • 1
  • Guangli Wang
    • 1
  • Qinghui Liu
    • 1
  • Weimin Zheng
    • 1
  • Min Fan
    • 3
  1. 1.Shanghai Astronomical ObservatoryChinese Academy of SciencesShanghaiChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Beijing Institute of Tracking and Telecommunications TechnologyBeijingChina

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