According to Beijing Morning  Post, Chang’e 3(named after Chinese goddess of the moon) will launch in 2013 on an ambitious robotic mission to the moon. The soft landing made by a lunar landing craft will include a robotic rover. The rover includes a nuclear battery with an expected 30 years operation.
Chang’e 2 launched in 2010 and was a successful lunar orbiting mission testing many of the technologies for future flights.
The new missions lunar rover was designed by Shanghai Aerospace System Engineering Institute and is designed to send video in real time.
The lander will include the moon’s first astronomical observatory including specialty cameras and a telescope.If successful the landing will be the first soft landing since the Soviet’s in 1976.
Of course this mission as in all Chinese moon missions will be testing technologies that could lead to a future manned landing.

I won’t spend too much time on either of these since they are being covered heavily by the news outlets.

Drone come home

The X-37b finally returned home from its latest mission after a whopping 469 days in orbit (she has some miles now on her odometer).  This latest “super secret spy ” mission was launched in March 2011.

X-37b landing Saturday 6-16-12

Here you kind my previous post on the X-37b

more info including landing video

China in Space

The Chinese have returned to space launching a 3 person crew that will soon be docking with the prototype space lab module, Tiangong 1.

This crew includes China’s first woman in Space, the lovely Liu Yang.

China’s first female Taikonaut

Shenzhou 9 lifts off

More on the mission along with Video here

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