China launches Chang’e 3 Moon rover mission successfully as India injects its Mars Orbiter Mission into correct transfer orbit2 Dec 2013, 17:12 UTC
China has successfully launched its Chang’e 3 lunar rover mission at 1730 GMT on 1 December 2013 using a Long March 3B/3 from the Xichang launch site in China. In doing so, China became only the third nation to have launched wheeled vehicles to the Moon after Russia’s Lunokhod rovers and USA’s manned rovers used by Apollo astronauts. The landing area for the rover, dubbed Yutu (Jade Rabbit) is expected to be the Sinus Iridium (Bay of Rainbows). Meantime China’s Asian space competitor India managed to inject its planned Mangalyaan Mars Orbiter Mission into a transfer orbit towards Mars. The spacecraft ignited its main engine at 1919 GMT on 30 November, firing it for 22 minutes and successfully placing the craft into a Hohmann trans-Mars trajectory.