BEIJING — China successfully launched a lunar probe into space Monday morning, on a two-week journey to deliver a robotic rover to the surface of the moon. The mission marks China’s first attempt at soft-landing a spacecraft on an extra-terrestrial body, and could benefit future plans to land Chinese astronauts on the moon.
A Long March rocket carrying the Chang’e 3 lunar lander blasted off Monday at 1:30 a.m. from southwest China’s Xichang Satellite Launch Center, reported the official Xinhua News Agency.
“We will strive for our space dream as part of the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation,” said the center’s director Zhang Zhenzhong. China’s ruling Communist Party has used the military-backed, state-run space program to boost national pride and support for its policies.