China will launch its first ever moon rover mission on Monday, state media said, as Beijing embarks on the latest stage in its ambitious space program
China will launch its first ever moon rover mission on Monday, state media said, as Beijing embarks on the latest stage in its ambitious space program.
A rocket carrying the vehicle, named "Jade Rabbit" in a nod to Chinese folklore, will blast off at 1:30 am local time (Sunday 1730 GMT). "The Chang'e 3 is set to be launched for its moon mission from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center on Dec. 2," state broadcaster CCTV said on its verified Twitter account on Saturday.
Official news agency Xinhua also confirmed the launch date, citing officials at the satellite launch center in Sichuan province.
If successful, the launch will mark a major milestone in China's space exploration program, which aims to create a permanent space station by 2020 and eventually send someone to the moon. But its technology lags behind the expertise of the United States and Russia.
Early in November, Beijing offered a rare glimpse into its secretive space program when it put a model of its six-wheeled moon rover on public display. The rover was later named "Yutu", or jade rabbit, following an online poll in which more than three million people voted.