Chinese Spacecraft Launches on Mission to the Far Side of the Moon

It's Official: A Lander Is Headed to The Far Side of The Moon

The rover blast off took place at about 2:23 am (local time) in the early hours of Saturday from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province in southern China.

To overcome that, a satellite was blasted into the moon's orbit in May, to act as a link between the lander and Earth.

Since the moon's revolution cycle is the same as its rotation cycle, the same side always faces the earth.

Chang'e 4 is the next in the line of China's Chang'e missions, and would be the first craft to land on the Moon's far side.

If successful, the mission scheduled to blast off aboard a Long March 3B rocket will propel the Chinese space program to a leading position in one of the most important areas of lunar exploration.

2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 Moon landing and lunar missions continue to be a source of fascination.

The mission will be supported by the Queqiao relay satellite, launched in May and placed in orbit beyond the Moon in June.

China plans to launch Chang'e 5 next year, a mission to return samples from the Moon. The Chang'e 3 mission marked first soft-landing by a spacecraft on the moon in almost four decades.

The probe is carrying six experiments from China and four from overseas. It was then tasked to fly by and observe the Toutatis asteroid, about 7 million km from the earth, and continued its journey into deep space. The scientific instruments on its lander are still operating, making Chang'e-3 the longest working man-made probe on the moon.

Chang'e-3, launched in 2013, was the first Chinese spacecraft to soft-land on and explore an extraterrestrial object.

It's expected to land in early January after 26 days of flight, said China's Aerospace Science and Technology Corp.

China, which is investing billions in its military-run space programme, hopes to have a crewed space station by 2022. Its program also suffered a rare setback past year with the dialed launch of its Long March 5 rocket.

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