Close
Date TimeMay 20, 2018
VoiceChina is one step closer to landing on the dark side of the moon.
The ambitious and fast-growing space power launched a relay satellite early Monday to set up a communication link between the Earth and the country's planned lunar probe, China National Space Administration (CNSA) announced in a statement.
China launches satellite as part of mission to explore moons dark side
"The launch is a key step for China to realize its goal of being the first country to send a probe to soft-land on and rove the far side of the moon," Zhang Lihua, manager of the relay satellite project, was quoted as saying by state-run Xinhua news agency.
China first announced in 2015 its intention to have the Chang'e-4 lunar probe touch down on the far side of the moon. The launch is expected to take place later this year.
Carrying the satellite, named Queqiao, a Chinese-built Long March-4C rocket blasted off shortly before 5:30 a.m. Monday (5:30 p.m. ET Sunday) from the Xichang space launch center in southwestern China.
The CNSA said Queqiao, which means "magpie bridge" in Chinese, separated from the rocket about 25 minutes after liftoff -- and entered a transfer orbit between the Earth and the moon with its solar panels and communication antennas successfully unfolded.
But the mission still faces numerous challenges ahead, according to project manager Zhang, including multiple adjustments to its final orbit, braking near the moon and taking advantage of the lunar gravity.
China's first lunar rover, known as jade rabbit, finished operating in 2016.

Owning the space race

While the US space agency NASA continues to face budgetary constraints, China is increasingly aiming to own the space race in the coming decade.
Beijing plans to launch its first Mars probe around 2020 to carry out orbiting and roving exploration, followed by a second mission that would include collection of surface samples from the red planet.
In addition to the Chang'e-4 robotic lunar mission, Wu Yanhua, CNSA's deputy chief, has said that China was studying the possibility of sending a man to the moon, as well as plans to send probes to Jupiter and its moons.
"Our overall goal is that, by around 2030, China will be among the major space powers of the world," he said.
It's also planning to have a fully operational permanent space station by 2022 -- around the same time funding for the International Space Station is expected to end.
There have been setbacks along the way, though, highlighted by the failed second launch of China's new-generation Long March-5 carrier rocket last July.
The huge rocket -- 5 meters in diameter and 57 meters tall -- was designed to carry up to 25 tons of payload into low orbit, more than doubling the country's previous lift capability.

Playing catch-up
China was late to the space race -- it didn't send its first satellite into space until 1970, just after the United States put the first man on the moon.
But in the decades since, China has pumped billions of dollars and other resources into research and training.
Since 2003, China has staged a spacewalk, landed a rover on the moon and launched two space labs. It has also sent six crews into space since 2003, making it only the third country in the world -- after Russia and the United States -- with such success.
Since 2011, the US Congress has prohibited NASA from working with China because of national security concerns.
Chinese officials have always stressed the country's "peaceful motives" behind its space exploration and utilization, but analysts agree that US-China collaboration in space would be unlikely anytime soon -- especially given the Trump administration's hardened stance toward Beijing on strategic issues ranging from Taiwan to the South China Sea.

Related Stories
Trump Tweets About Moon, Mars, the Internet Scratches Its HeadTrump Tweets About Moon, Mars, the Internet Scratches Its Head
This Could Be the Most Earth-Like Exoplanet Discovered YetThis Could Be the Most Earth-Like Exoplanet Discovered Yet
NASA boss says no doubt SpaceX explosion delays flight programNASA boss says 'no doubt' SpaceX explosion delays flight program
Astronauts snapped an incredible photo of a volcano erupting in the Pacific OceanAstronauts snapped an incredible photo of a volcano erupting in the Pacific Ocean
NASA reveals details of plans to put astronauts on the Moon by 2024NASA reveals details of plans to put astronauts on the Moon by 2024
Mars has a brand new crater, and it sure is prettyMars has a brand new crater, and it sure is pretty
Jeff Bezos explains why hes trying to colonise the moon: We need to go to the moon to save the EarthJeff Bezos explains why he's trying to colonise the moon: 'We need to go to the moon to save the Earth'
NASA wants astronauts to go back to the moon in 2024NASA wants astronauts to go back to the moon in 2024
SpaceX is about to launch 152 dead peoples remains into orbit aboard a Falcon Heavy rocketSpaceX is about to launch 152 dead people's remains into orbit aboard a Falcon Heavy rocket
Elon Musk Mistook a ‘Blood Moon’ for Mars in New SpaceX TweetElon Musk Mistook a ‘Blood Moon’ for Mars in New SpaceX Tweet
News Trends
Beyoncé Literally Broke Alllll the Strict Royal Rules When Meeting Meghan MarkleBeyoncé Literally Broke Alllll the Strict Royal Rules When Meeting Meghan Markle
‘The Lion King’ Roars to $23 Million Opening on Thursday Night‘The Lion King’ Roars to $23 Million Opening on Thursday Night
Cruise Herts club: Who are the car enthusiasts and what happened at the Stevenage motor meeting?Cruise Herts club: Who are the car enthusiasts and what happened at the Stevenage motor meeting?
2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 Stingrays price and features draw gasps2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 Stingray's price and features draw gasps
Brexit activist Darren Grimes wins appeal against £20,000 Electoral Commission fineBrexit activist Darren Grimes wins appeal against £20,000 Electoral Commission fine
NFL won’t suspend Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill in case involving sonNFL won’t suspend Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill in case involving son
Kylie Jenner Doesnt Want to Marry Travis ScottKylie Jenner Doesn't Want to Marry Travis Scott
Rep. Ilhan Omar Receives Heros Welcome Home Amid Trump AttacksRep. Ilhan Omar Receives Hero's Welcome Home Amid Trump Attacks
Britons urged to help record influx of painted lady butterfliesBritons urged to help record influx of painted lady butterflies
Beyoncés Lion King album is more about Beyoncé than The Lion KingBeyoncé's Lion King album is more about Beyoncé than The Lion King
Leaders
Donald-TrumpDonald Trump
45th President of the United States of America
Mike-PenceMike Pence
Vice President of the United States
Theresa-MayTheresa May
British Prime Minister
Angela-MerkelAngela Merkel
Chancellor of Germany
Emmanuel-MacronEmmanuel Macron
President of France
Justin-TrudeauJustin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada
Nancy-PelosiNancy Pelosi
Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
Barack-ObamaBarack Obama
44th U.S. President
Vladimir-PutinVladimir Putin
Russian President
Shinzo-AbeShinzō Abe
Prime Minister of Japan
Related Stories
Trump Tweets About Moon, Mars, the Internet Scratches Its HeadTrump Tweets About Moon, Mars, the Internet Scratches Its Head
This Could Be the Most Earth-Like Exoplanet Discovered YetThis Could Be the Most Earth-Like Exoplanet Discovered Yet
NASA boss says no doubt SpaceX explosion delays flight programNASA boss says 'no doubt' SpaceX explosion delays flight program
Astronauts snapped an incredible photo of a volcano erupting in the Pacific OceanAstronauts snapped an incredible photo of a volcano erupting in the Pacific Ocean
NASA reveals details of plans to put astronauts on the Moon by 2024NASA reveals details of plans to put astronauts on the Moon by 2024
Mars has a brand new crater, and it sure is prettyMars has a brand new crater, and it sure is pretty
Jeff Bezos explains why hes trying to colonise the moon: We need to go to the moon to save the EarthJeff Bezos explains why he's trying to colonise the moon: 'We need to go to the moon to save the Earth'
NASA wants astronauts to go back to the moon in 2024NASA wants astronauts to go back to the moon in 2024
SpaceX is about to launch 152 dead peoples remains into orbit aboard a Falcon Heavy rocketSpaceX is about to launch 152 dead people's remains into orbit aboard a Falcon Heavy rocket
Elon Musk Mistook a ‘Blood Moon’ for Mars in New SpaceX TweetElon Musk Mistook a ‘Blood Moon’ for Mars in New SpaceX Tweet
News Trends
Beyoncé Literally Broke Alllll the Strict Royal Rules When Meeting Meghan MarkleBeyoncé Literally Broke Alllll the Strict Royal Rules When Meeting Meghan Markle
‘The Lion King’ Roars to $23 Million Opening on Thursday Night‘The Lion King’ Roars to $23 Million Opening on Thursday Night
Cruise Herts club: Who are the car enthusiasts and what happened at the Stevenage motor meeting?Cruise Herts club: Who are the car enthusiasts and what happened at the Stevenage motor meeting?
2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 Stingrays price and features draw gasps2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 Stingray's price and features draw gasps
Brexit activist Darren Grimes wins appeal against £20,000 Electoral Commission fineBrexit activist Darren Grimes wins appeal against £20,000 Electoral Commission fine
NFL won’t suspend Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill in case involving sonNFL won’t suspend Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill in case involving son
Kylie Jenner Doesnt Want to Marry Travis ScottKylie Jenner Doesn't Want to Marry Travis Scott
Rep. Ilhan Omar Receives Heros Welcome Home Amid Trump AttacksRep. Ilhan Omar Receives Hero's Welcome Home Amid Trump Attacks
Britons urged to help record influx of painted lady butterfliesBritons urged to help record influx of painted lady butterflies
Beyoncés Lion King album is more about Beyoncé than The Lion KingBeyoncé's Lion King album is more about Beyoncé than The Lion King
Leaders
Donald-TrumpDonald Trump
45th President of the United States of America
Mike-PenceMike Pence
Vice President of the United States
Theresa-MayTheresa May
British Prime Minister
Angela-MerkelAngela Merkel
Chancellor of Germany
Emmanuel-MacronEmmanuel Macron
President of France
Justin-TrudeauJustin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada
Nancy-PelosiNancy Pelosi
Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
Barack-ObamaBarack Obama
44th U.S. President
Vladimir-PutinVladimir Putin
Russian President
Shinzo-AbeShinzō Abe
Prime Minister of Japan
Venezuela says President re-elected; US calls it a 'sham'
Turkey's Erdogan seeks votes in Bosnia after ban on campaigning elsewhere
Oliver North Blames School Shootings On Ritalin
Premier League transfer news: Gianluigi Buffon, Willian, Robert Lewandowski
John Cena and Nikki Bella PICTURED: WWE Superstars reunite in San Diego after breaking engagement
One dead and another injured in a cougar attack in Washington state
Basketball great Bill Russell released from hospital
Trump misspells Melania's name in tweet on return to White House from hospital
Cuba mourns more than 100 killed in plane crash
Watch: The royal wedding in 90 seconds
Juventus mark Buffon's last match and raise Serie A trophy
Meghan Markle reveals second royal wedding dress as she heads to Frogmore House
Chelsea’s Eden Hazard spot-on to sink Manchester United and win FA Cup
At least 10 people killed in Texas high school shooting, suspect in custody
Victoria Beckham arrives for the royal wedding in a figure hugging navy pencil dress
Meghan Markle royal wedding dress first look as she enters chapel to marry Prince Harry
Harry and Meghan to be Duke and Duchess of Sussex
FA Cup final: Man Utd could make interesting decision for Chelsea clash - Martin Keown
Royal wedding dress code: What will guests be wearing for Meghan and Harry nuptials?
Flowers for Merkel as pair meet on back of Trump pressure
Prince Charles saves the day: Meghan Markle to walk down aisle with new father-in-law
Police shoot man firing gun inside Trump hotel and ‘yelling’ about president, authorities say
SpaceX: Elon Musk details plans to get you anywhere on Earth in one hour
Europe not backing down on Iran
Box-Office Preview: 'Deadpool 2' Plots $130M-$150M Weekend Picnic
French police foil ricin terror plot and arrest Egyptian brothers
Ebola reaches DRC city, raising epidemic fears as 11 new cases confirmed
German-Russian pipeline takes shape despite protests from U.S., allies
Elon Musk brings high-tech charm offensive to Los Angeles tunnel plan
Bill Gates Says Trump Didn’t Know The Difference Between HPV And HIV
U.S. Senate confirms Haspel to be first woman CIA director
Donald Trump on North Korea summit: Kim should make deal (or face regime change)
1 adult, 1 child killed in 'horrific' accident involving school bus and dump truck in New Jersey
Trump Jr called blocked number before and after Trump Tower meeting. Who was it?
Gianluigi Buffon to leave Juventus but is considering 'interesting proposals'
Amy Schumer says royal wedding is going to 'suck,' compares day to Westminster Dog Show
National Geographic’s Clever New Cover Contains Chilling Warning About Plastics
Scientists suspect banned chemical that destroys ozone layer being secretly manufactured
Trump calls some unauthorized immigrants ‘animals’ in White House rant
Democrats Force Vote To Keep Net Neutrality Rules
Stephen Colbert Wants Mueller To Give Trump A Special Anniversary Gift
Nassar victims will receive Arthur Ashe Courage Award
Trump: 'We'll see' if North Korea summit is on after Kim's threat to cancel
China's private space sector ready for liftoff
Yanny or Laurel? Audio clip spurs social media debate
NASA satellite falls to Earth after 2 decades in space
Facebook Removed More Than 500 Million Fake Accounts In First Quarter Of 2018
Malaysian political leader Anwar Ibrahim walks free after royal pardon
Diplomatic WAR escalates as Turkey and Israel EXPEL ambassadors following Twitter spat
Meet Tesla's new bondholder: Billionaire George Soros
Deadpool Crashes Colbert's 'Late Show' Monologue
Tom Wolfe, American journalist and novelist, dies at 88
Revealed: Ecuador spent millions on spy operation for Julian Assange
Royal Wedding U-TURN: Meghan Markle's dad CHANGES MIND and now wants to go to Windsor
Putin: New weapons will maintain Russia's might for decades
North Korea threatens to cancel US meeting over American military drills with South Korea, report says
Ariana Grande and Jimmy Fallon Perform 'No Tears Left to Cry' Using Nintendo Labo Cardboard Instruments
Bohemian Rhapsody: first trailer of Queen and Freddie Mercury biopic released
The Honor 10 is exactly the budget Huawei P20 Pro we were expecting
Jlloyd Samuel, former Aston Villa and Bolton defender, dies in car crash
Global protests grow after Israeli killing of Palestinian protesters
Bernie Sanders' son slams Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton
Kristen Stewart goes barefoot on Cannes Film Festival red carpet, rebels against heel rule
Colbert Savages ‘Peace-Treaty Barbie And Collusion Ken’ Over Embassy Opening
Meghan Markle, Prince Harry ask for privacy for her father who won't attend wedding
Trump, China, ZTE and the art of the deal
In pictures: Deadliest day in Gaza since 2014
Margot Kidder, Superman's Lois Lane, dies aged 69
Meghan Markle's dad has ‘heart attack and will NOT attend wedding' after photo scandal
White House blames Hamas for dozens of deaths in Gaza protests
Melania Trump undergoes kidney surgery at Walter Reed medical center
Alfie Evans funeral LIVE: ‘Our Hero’ Thousands line streets of Liverpool to say goodbye
Armenia's new PM meets with Russia's Putin for the 1st time
Facebook suspends ~200 suspicious apps out of 'thousands' reviewed so far
37 Palestinians killed in Gaza protests ahead of US Embassy opening
'SHE'S PARANOID': Hillary Clinton WARNS Australia of China and Russian 'INTERFERENCE'
British reality TV star Joe Tilley found dead at bottom of waterfall in Colombia
France gives Brexit ULTIMATUM to finalise Irish border issue by NEXT MONTH
Trump’s decision to open Jerusalem embassy complicates promise to seek peace
Powerful storms kill at least 40 across northern India
Shiite cleric al-Sadr leads in Iraq's initial vote results
Noisy Hawaiian volcano lava fissure prompts more evacuations
Salma Hayek: male Hollywood stars should take pay cut
Lewis Hamilton wins Spanish Grand Prix to stretch lead in F1 title race
Ivanka Trump in Jerusalem for embassy opening as Gaza braces for bloodshed
Trump team sends mixed signals to Europe
Trump says US working with China to save ZTE
BREAKING: British tourists kidnapped by gang in Congo have been RELEASED
Catalonia's radical separatists clear way for new leader
John Bolton says North Korea has prospect to become 'a normal nation'
One million students join calls for vote on Brexit deal
Tessa Jowell dead: Labour MP dies at 70 after year-long battle with brain cancer
Trump thanks North Korea for plan to dismantle nuke site
Amy Schumer Honors Moms and Plays a Conservative Actress in 'SNL' Hosting Gig
Netta Barzilai of Israel wins Eurovision Song Contest
Attacker yells 'Allahu Akbar,' stabs five in Paris before police take him down
At least 10 killed in Indonesia church attacks
Cardi B disappears from social media after Azealia Banks’ shade
Eurovision 2018: STOP WHINGING Britain! Euro-experts say contest non-political
Yes, NASA Is Actually Sending a Helicopter to Mars: Here's What It Will Do
North Korea Outlines Plans To Dismantle Nuclear Test Sites
WORLD CUP: Moscow a vast and varied destination
Video: Cop beat up teen daughter in school office as employees looked on
Der Spiegel Cover Portrays Trump As A Finger Flipping Off Europe
Trump claims he saved almost $999,800,000 on US embassy in Jerusalem
Mike Pompeo offers aid to North Korea in exchange for forfeiting nukes
Google sells the future, powered by your personal data
Robot dogs that freaked people by opening doors out may soon come to a building near you
'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' Officially Revived at NBC
Iraq elections: Voters head to the polls at critical time
Two Britons kidnapped in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
At meeting with automakers, Trump launches new attack on NAFTA
Kremlin: US move on Iran brings Russia and Europe closer
Police confirm death of Frightened Rabbit singer Scott Hutchison
John Kelly: Trump ‘Somewhat Embarrassed’ About Russia Probe
SpaceX Aborts 1st Launch of Upgraded Falcon 9 Rocket at the Last Minute
Rihanna's wedding night advice for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
Emmanuel Macron preaches European unity amid U.S. tensions
'He's dying anyway': White House official mocked Sen. John McCain, reports say
Elon Musk's first underground LA tunnel could be ready to ride in a few months
7 Killed In What May Be Australia’s Worst Mass Shooting Since 1996
Cisco has yanked all its ads from YouTube
ISIS: Trump says five 'most wanted' leaders captured
Putin scores 5 goals in exhibition hockey game
David Goodall tells CNN: I 'welcome' death
Trump reveals details of meeting with Kim Jong Un
Wayne Rooney agrees to join DC United
Has NASA found aliens? Discovery of habitable planets with seasons could reveal alien life
Monica Lewinsky says she was uninvited from event when Bill Clinton decided to attend
Trump signs Holocaust property law that has angered Poland
Malaysia's former leader set to become world's oldest PM at 92
The Latest: Israel says 'nearly all' Iranian targets hit
President Trump greets American prisoners freed by North Korea
Israel and Iran's most direct confrontation
Boris Johnson and Ivanka Trump photo MOCKED on Twitter: ‘CREEPIER version of your daddy'
CIA nominee Gina Haspel says ‘tough lessons’ learned from interrogation
Amy Schumer Struggles With 'SNL' Facts in Behind-the-Scenes Tour
Trump rules out DMZ as location for North Korea summit
New outbreak of Ebola kills 17 in Democratic Republic of Congo
MIDDLE EAST CRISIS: Saudi Arabia ATTACKED as country's air defence intercepts TWO missiles
SpaceX set to debut newest Falcon 9 Rocket: 'Block 5'
Late-Night Hosts Weigh in on U.S. Pulling Out of Iran Deal
US officials concerned Iran could attack Israel
US company linked to Russian oligarch paid $500K to Trump's personal attorney
Iran nuclear deal: Donald Trump sends EU into a PANIC with decision to pull US from pact
Trump: Pompeo heading to North Korea to arrange summit with Kim Jong Un
Trump announces withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal, isolating him further from world
Scarlett Johansson wears Marchesa, owned by Harvey Weinstein's estranged wife, to Met Gala
Trump is expected to announce he will allow sanctions to go forward on Iran
Kim Jong Un makes unexpected trip to meet China's Xi
Macron 'ENRAGED' as English set to be MAIN language in EU after Brexit
Trains collide in Germany, killing 2 and injuring 14
Are we in the AI revolution? Microsoft's keynote points to huge change
Elon Musk quietly dating musician Grimes
Weapons to watch in Russia's Victory Day parade
Oliver North poised to become next National Rifle Association president
Melania Trump to focus on social media behaviour in children’s agenda
Trump says he'll announce Iran deal decision Tuesday afternoon
Putin sworn in for fourth presidential term (FULL VIDEO)
Boris Johnson uses Fox & Friends to urge Trump to stay in Iran deal
SpaceX Dragon capsule returns to Earth from Space Station
John Oliver Says 'Goodbye Forever' After Koala Chlamydia Ward Is Named After Him
'We are not under US orders' Turkey vows to retaliate if Trump bans Russian arms deal
Egypt says there’s no hidden rooms in King Tut’s tomb after all
Melania Trump to announce formal platform Monday during Rose Garden ceremony
Iran fears send US oil above $70 for first time since 2014
Fate of Iran nuclear deal at stake as UK foreign secretary heads to Washington
N. Korea: Trump ruining good mood ahead of summit
Rudy Giuliani: Cohen might have paid other women for Trump 'if necessary'
Russian police release opposition leader Alexei Navalny
Anger in France, Britain over Trump's gun law speech
Bomb at Afghanistan voter registration centre leaves 12 dead
LeBron James hits game-winner at buzzer to give Cavs 3-0 series lead over Raptors
East London hit by ACID ATTACK spree: Three rushed to hospital in morning horror
Rouhani says plans in place for any Trump decision on nuclear deal: TV
Tunisia holds 1st local election since 2011 Arab Spring
Stormy Daniels Plays Herself in Star-Studded 'SNL' Cold Open
Musk: 'Super, super serious' about starting a candy company
Trump angers France and Britain with his NRA speech
Thousands protest against Macron under heavy security in Paris
Thousands of Scottish independence supporters march through Glasgow
John McCain, battling brain cancer, tells Biden to stay in politics
Israeli PM to visit Moscow for talks on Mideast developments
Sir Alex Ferguson, former Manchester United coach, hospitalized
High blood pressure: Five summer foods to cut your BP reading
Russia protests: Anti-Putin demonstrators take to the streets - ‘he is NOT our Tsar’
Lebanon prepares for 1st parliament vote in 9 years
NASA launches mission to Mars
Two centuries on, Karl Marx feels more revolutionary than ever | Stuart Jeffries
'Pyongyang Time' scrapped as North Korea synchronises clocks with the South
6.9-magnitude earthquake hits Hawaii’s Big Island, USGS says, following a recent volcanic eruption
NASA InSight set to launch Saturday to help scientists study inner depths of Mars
Trump shames Mueller team in NRA speech, on heels of judge's rebuke
This is the music video the Parkland students made
Star Wars Day: What to do on May 4 (and why)
'They threw everything they had and FAILED' Theresa May taunts Labour after election FLOP
Meghan Markle’s parents to meet Queen Elizabeth II, other royals ahead of wedding
Kris Jenner defends Kanye West, calls Khloe Kardashian 'a good mom'
Palestinian leader apologizes for speech condemned as anti-Semitic
Unemployment below 4% in US for first time since 2000
Close