China’s First Moon Probe Makes Successful Landing

The rover 'Yutu' is expected to separate from the lander Sunday

  • Share
  • Read Later
Wang Jianmin / Xinhua / AP

The moon's surface is seen in this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, Dec. 14, 2013.

China celebrated the successful landing of its first unmanned moon probe Saturday, a watershed moment in the nation’s advance toward a more developed space program.

The space craft, named Chang’e-3, landed on the moon just after 9 p.m. Beijing time, state news agency Xinhua reports. CCTV provided live coverage of the probe’s landing, which authorities praised as a major step for the military-run space program.

“Compared to the last century’s space race between the United States and the former Soviet Union, mankind’s current return to the moon is more based on curiosity and exploration of the unknown universe,” the state news agency quoted deputy engineer-in-chief Sun Huixian as saying.

The country hopes to create a comprehensive space station by 2020.