China launched a ground-breaking mission early Saturday aiming to soft-land a spacecraft on the largely unexplored far side of the moon, demonstrating its growing ambitions as a space power to rival Russia, the European Union and US.
A Long March 3B rocket carrying the Chang'e-4 lunar lander was launched at about 2:23 a.m. local time (1823 GMT, 7 December) on Saturday from Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in southern China.
CCTV aired the blast-off of the rocket, claiming it was a successful one.
Chang'e 4 is also a lander-rover combination and will explore both above and below the lunar surface after arriving at the South Pole-Aitken basin's Von Karman crater following a 27-day journey.
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