August 31, 2013 - China's Chang'e-3 lunar probe is scheduled to be launched at the end of this year for a moon landing mission, the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence announced on Wednesday.
"Chang'e-3 has officially entered its launch stage, following its research and manufacture period," said a statement released by the administration after Wednesday's meeting on the mission.
will see a Chinese space probe land on a celestial body for the first time.
"The Chang'e-3 mission makes best use of a plethora of innovative technology. It is an extremely difficult mission, that carries great risk," said Ma Xingrui, head of China's space exploration body and chief commander of the lunar program.
The Chang'e-3 mission is the second phase of China's lunar program which includes orbiting, landing and returning to Earth, following the successes of the Chang'e-2 missions, which include plotting a high-resolution, full-coverage lunar map.
Chang'e-3's carrier rocket has successfully gone through its first test while the launch pad, control and ground application systems are ready for the mission.
Chang'e-3 will be launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center
in southwest China.