China's first lunar satellite is scheduled to blast off next week from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province, the Shanghai Morning Post reported today.
"October 22 to 25 is the best period for the launch according to an analysis of weather, but the detailed time can't be revealed now," an official with the center said.
The satellite, named "Chang'e" after the legendary Chinese goddess who flew to the moon, will orbit the Earth five to seven times before heading to the moon within 12 days.
A Long March-3 carrier rocket and the satellite have been set up on the launching pad and undergone tests, the official said.
The satellite will orbit the moon for a year to conduct a string of tasks, such as obtaining 3D images of the lunar surface, analyzing the content of useful elements and materials and probing the depth of lunar soil.
(Shanghai Daily October 16, 2007)