China successfully launches its first Mars probe 45 years after U.S. launch
In a space race against the United States, China launched its first Mars landing mission Tianwen-1, the heaviest payload ever to be sent to Mars, on Long March-5 carrier rocket from Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in Hainan Province on Thursday. The mission is to attempt to place an orbiter around the Red Planet and a robotic rover on the Martian surface. The journey will take six to seven months and the probe is expected to reach Mars around February 2021.
China’s Long March-5 Y4 carrier rocket, alongside its Mars Tianwen-1 probe, blasted off at 12:41 p.m. Thursday from Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in S China’s Hainan Province, according to a report from China National Space Administration.
Viking 1 lands on Mars. On the seventh anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing, the Viking 1 lander, an unmanned U.S. planetary probe, becomes the first spacecraft to successfully land on the surface of Mars. Viking 1 was launched on August 20, 1975, and arrived at Mars on June 19, 1976.
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) July 23, 2020