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BEIJING - China's Chang'e-3 lunar probe is scheduled to be launched at the end of this yearfor a moon landing mission, the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry forNational Defence announced on Wednesday.
"Chang'e-3 has officially entered its launch stage, following its research and manufactureperiod," said a statement released by the administration after Wednesday's meeting on themission.
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 anextremely difficult mission, that carries great risk," said Ma Xingrui, head of China's spaceexploration 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, whichinclude 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.