On December 19, 2013 at 09:12 UTC the Russian "Soyuz-ST-B” rocket- carrier was launched from Kourou space center in French Guiana. The rocket orbited the "Gaia” (Global Astrometric Interferometer for Astrophysics) space observatory of the European Space Agency (ESA). The mission aims to compile a 3D space catalogue of approximately 1 billion astronomical objects (approximately 1% of the Milky way population). Gaia will monitor each of its target stars about 70 times over a period of five years. Gaia will create a precise three-dimensional map of stars throughout the Milky Way galaxy and map their motions which encode the origin and subsequent evolution of the Milky Way.
On December 15, 2013 at 00:35 UTC China's first moon rover, "Yutu” (Jade Rabbit) separated from the lander several hours after the Chang'e-3 probe soft-landed on the lunar surface. The rover disconnected from the landing platform beginning about six hours after touchdown, severing electrical and mechanical connections before sliding off the lander on a ramp and driving on to the moon's surface. The rover is designed for a three-month mission, and the Chang'e 3 lander could operate more than a year. The rover stands nearly 1,1 meter tall and has a mass of 140 kilograms. The first world automatic moon rover was the Soviet "Lunochod-1” which worked on the Moon’s surface from November 1970 till September 1971 and went the path length of 10 540 meters. It had a high of 1,92 meters and a mass of 756 kilograms.
On December 14, 2013 at 13:11 UTC the Chinese "Chang'e 3” probe, named after a mythical Chinese goddess of the moon, landed on the moon, becoming China's first outpost on another world after a rocket-powered descent to an unexplored barren volcanic plain. The probe carried a six-wheeled moon rover called "Yutu," or "Jade Rabbit," the goddess' pet. China became the third country to carry out a lunar soft landing — which does not damage the craft and the equipment it carries — after the Soviet Union and the United States. The previous moon landing was performed by the Soviet "Luna-24” automatic probe in 1976.
A $250 million Earth observation satellite developed by China and Brazil was lost in the launch failure of the "Long March 4B” rocket-carrier on December 09, 2013. The rocket-carrier was launched at 03:26 UTC from the Taiyuan space center in northern China's Shanxi province. The rocket was supposed to put the 2.3-ton CBERS 3 satellite into orbit about 12 minutes later, but something went wrong. It was not clear so far when the rocket ran into trouble, but Chinese and Brazilian news reports said the satellite did not enter orbit. The last time any Long March rocket malfunctioned was in August 2011, when the "Long March-2C” rocket-carrier faltered while carrying a Shijian military satellite.
On December 08, 2013 at 12:11 UTC the "Proton-M” rocket-carrier was launched from Baykonur Cosmodrome. The rocket equipped with the "Briz-M” booster orbited the "Inmarsat 5F-1” British telecommunications satellite. The satellite, built by Boeing Satellite Systems, provides a wide range of voice and data services through an established global network of distributors and service providers. Its expected service life is 15 years in geostationary orbit.