China on Sunday launched its first spacecraft to the surface of moon, with landing of the six-wheeled rover named "Yutu" - Chinese for "jade rabbit" – expected in two weeks.
The mission, known as Chang'e 3, would be the first probe to make a soft landing on moon since 1976.
It follows a pair of Chinese orbiters, Chang'e 1 and Chang'e 2, launched in 2007 and 2010, respectively.
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Yutu blasted off aboard a Long March rocket from China's Xichang spaceport at 12:30 p.m. EST on Sunday, 1:30 a.m. Monday Beijing time.
The rocket put the spacecraft into a highly elliptical orbit that stretches as far as 223,694 miles or 360,000 km from Earth. Over the next four days, the probe will adjust its orbit so that it can be captured by the moon's gravity.
"The biggest challenge still remains - to land this safely onto the surface," Xu Yansong, spokesman with the Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization, said during a live broadcast of launch on China Central Television's website.