News agencies are reporting that China's soft lunar lander and rover, Chang'e 3, has passed its final critical reviews and is now proceeding toward launch. Here are three reports (one in English, two in Chinese):
- China to launch unmanned lunar lander by year-end (Associated Press)
- Xinhua story
- China Space News story
The Xinhua story mentions Chang'e 4 as a backup to Chang'e 3, but no launch date is mentioned for the follow-on mission. NASASpaceflight.com user Galactic Penguin shared a link to a conference presentation on Chinese solar system exploration, which contains a launch date for Chang'e 3:
Liu Qinghui, a researcher working at the Shanghai Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (which includes their 65-meter radio telescope), said in the presentation above that Chang'E-3 is scheduled to launch at about 1 am local time on December 2 (~17:00 UTC on December 1).
Spacecraft launching all over the place!