Skip to main content

Chang'e 4 in Pictures: China's Mission to the Moon's Far Side

Liftoff for Chang'e 4!

Jiang Hongjing/Xinhua/Zuma

China launched its Chang'e 4 mission to the far side of the moon on Dec. 8, 2018 Beijing Time (Dec. 7 EST/GMT). China is the first country ever to send a rover to soft-land on the lunar farside. See the mission photos here!

Chang'e 4 Clears the Tower

Jiang Hongjing/Xinhua/Zuma

China’s Chang'e 4 lunar probe lifts off the pad at Xichang Satellite Launch Center on Dec. 7, 2018 (Dec. 8 local Chinese time).

Chang'e 4 Far Side Moon Spacecraft

CASC

The three main spacecraft of China's Chang'e 4 mission to the far side of the moon are seen in this still from a China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation animation. The mission uses the Chang'e 4 lander and rover on the lunar surface, with communications supplied by the Queqiao relay satellite above.

A Yutu Successor

CNTV

The Chang'e 4 mission's rover is similar to the Yutu rover that successfully reached the moon on China's Chang'e 3 mission. The Chang'e 4 rover and lander were backup vehicles for that earlier moon landing.

The Lander

CASC

An artist's illustration of China's Chang'e 4 lander on the far side of the moon. Like its rover, Chang'e 4's lander was once a backup vehicle for the successful Chang'e 3 mission.

Chang'e 4 Mission Milestones CASC

CASC

This CASC graphic shows the major milestones of China's Chang'e 4 moon landing mission on the lunar far side, including an extended cruise time to the moon.

Chang'e 4 Rises into the Sky

Jiang Hongjing/Xinhua/Zuma

China’s Chang'e 4 lunar probe rises into the sky above Xichang Satellite Launch Center on Dec. 7, 2018 (Dec. 8 local Chinese time).

Liftoff for China's Chang'e 4 Moon Mission

CASC

The Long March 3B rocket carrying China's Chang'e 4 moon far side lander and rover lifted off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center on Dec. 7, 2018 (Dec. 8 local Chinese time).

Launch Success for Chang'e 4

China National Space Administration

Liftoff of China's Chang'e 4 mission to the moon's far side occurred on Dec. 8, 2018 at 2:23 a.m. Beijing Time (1:23 p.m. EDT/1823 GMT on Dec. 7).

Meet Queqiao

CNSA

The Chang'e 4 spacecraft won't be alone at the moon. Before launching the lander and rover, the China National Space Administration sent the Queqiao relay satellite to the moon to serve as a communications relay for the mission.

China Launches Chang'e 4 Relay Satellite

China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation

China's Queqiao relay satellite for the country's Chang'e 4 mission to the far side of the moon launched into space atop a Long March 4C rocket on Monday, May 21, 2018 Beijing Time (Sunday, May 20 EDT).

Tariq Malik

SPACE.COM EDITOR IN CHIEF — Tariq joined the Space.com team in 2001 as a staff writer, and later editor, covering human spaceflight, exploration and space science. He became Space.com's Managing Editor in 2009. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Google+, Twitter and on Facebook.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: community@space.com.