China's history of lunar exploration

In space first China launches lunar rover to far side of the moon	 	 	 			China's Chang'e-4 lunar probe rover

To facilitate communication between controllers on Earth and the Chang'e 4 mission, China in May launched a relay satellite named Queqiao, or "Magpie Bridge", after an ancient Chinese folk tale.

A Long March-3B rocket, carrying the probe including a lander and a rover, blasted off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province at 2:23 a.m., opening a new chapter in lunar exploration.

The Chang'e-4 mission also includes contributions by scientists from the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden and Saudi Arabia.

It landed the Chang'e 3 probe, which carried the first Chinese lunar rover, on the moon in December 2013. The United States' Apollo 8 mission sent three astronauts to fly around the moon in 1968, including around its far side. The earth's and moon's gravity balances the orbital motion of the satellite and makes it very fuel-efficient. The Chang'e 3 mission marked first soft-landing by a spacecraft on the moon in almost four decades.

China conducted its first crewed space mission in 2003, making it only the third country after Russian Federation and the U.S.to do so.

If the mission succeeds, China has plans to launch a fifth Chang'e mission next year that would collect samples of the moon's surface and bring them back to Earth. 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.

A Chinese spacecraft is headed toward the moon on a historic mission.

Model of Chang'e moon lander.

And as no lander or rover has ever touched the particular area of moon, China grabs the top spot as the first nation to explore the area. The spacecraft re-entered the earth's atmosphere at a speed of about 11.2 km per second.

Beijing is pouring billions into its military-run space programme, with hopes of having a crewed space station by 2022, and of eventually sending humans to the moon. Its program also suffered a rare setback previous year with the dialed launch of its Long March 5 rocket.

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