BEIJING, July 31 (Xinhuanet) -- China will launch its third spacecraft to land on the moon next year as part of its ongoing Lunar Exploration Program. According to the government, the development of the moon craft is on target for next year’s launch.
The Chang’e-3, named after the Chinese goddess of the moon, includes a lander and rover. The lunar program's chief scientist says Chang’e-3 will make a soft landing on the moon and explore its surface. It is expected to take off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China’s Sichuan province in the second half of 2013.
Two lunar orbiters, Chang’e 1 and Chang’e 2 were launched in 2007 and 2010 and successfully completed their missions.