China Readies to Launch First Moon Rover Mission

This file photo shows a model of a lunar rover 'Jade Rabbit', seen on display at the China International Industry Fair in Shanghai, on November 5, 2013

This file photo shows a model of a lunar rover ‘Jade Rabbit’, seen on display at the China International Industry Fair in Shanghai, on November 5, 2013

China will launch its first ever moon rover mission on Monday, state media said, as Beijing embarks on the latest stage in its ambitious space programme.

A rocket carrying the vehicle, named “Jade Rabbit” in a nod to Chinese folklore, will blast off at 1:30 am local time (Sunday 1730 GMT).

“The Chang’e 3 is set to be launched for its moon mission from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center on Dec. 2,” state broadcaster CCTV said on its verified Twitter account on Saturday.

Official news agency Xinhua also confirmed the launch date, citing officials at the satellite launch centre in Sichuan province.

Read the rest of this entry »


China Steps Up the Space race: Lunar Probe This year

A Chinese Long March 3C rocket launches the unmanned Chang'e 2 lunar probe toward the moon on Oct. 1, 2010 from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center. Credit: CALT

Long March 3C rocket launches the unmanned Chang’e 2 lunar probe Oct. 1, 2010 from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center – Credit: CALT

China will launch a lander and rover to the moon by the end of this year, officials announced Wednesday, part of an ambitious plan to return samples from the lunar surface by 2017 and send humans within the next decade.

China will send a rover to the moon by the end of the year, officials announced Wednesday. Though it was originally slated for September, officials are now planning to launch early December 2 local time (December 1 in the US).

“The Chang’e-3 mission makes best use of a plethora of innovative technology. It is an extremely difficult mission that carries great risk,” said Ma Xingrui, head of China’s space exploration body and chief commander of the lunar program. Read the rest of this entry »