as you know, few days ago, the China National Space Administration sent its first rover, called Yutu, to the Moon. For this mission, China is helped by the +European Space Agency, ESA . Actually, after the liftoff of the China’s Chang’e 3 spacecraft, the ESA's network of tracking stations is providing a crucial support during all the Lunar cruise of the spacecraft. This mission is the third Chinese mission to the moon after the Chang'e 1 and Chang'e 2 lunar orbiter flights, launched in 2007 and 2010, respectively.
After its liftoff from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the country's Sichuan province, the ESA’s station in Kourou, French Guiana, started receiving signals from the spacecraft and uploading commands on behalf of the Chinese control center. This tracking is operated during the voyage to the Earth's moon. Next, during the descent and after the landing some other ESA's space stations will follow the rover Yutu mission.
The landing of Yutu is planned to be in the Sea of Rainbows on December 14th 2013. This landing will be the first since Russia’s Luna-24 in 1976. This mission is the second step of the China's lunar exploration program. That program consists of three major steps: Orbit, land and finally return some Moon rock samples to Earth by 2020.
Credits: China National Space Administration
Stay tunes for the next news during the phases of descend and landing on December 14th.