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The first Chinese spacecraft to make a soft landing on the moon was launched

The spacecraft carries inside a robotic vehicle that is supposed to patrol the surface of the moon, and serves as a stepping stone towards a manned flight whose date has not yet been determined
The launch of the Chinese spacecraft Shanghai 3 to the moon. Photo: Chinese news agency Xinhua
China launched this evening (19:30 Israel time, 01:30 on December 2 China time) the Shanghai-3 spacecraft to the moon, including China's first all-terrain vehicle, which sees the launch as a significant step for deep space exploration.

China's improved Long March 3B long-range launcher was launched from the Shichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China.

Shenjia-3 is expected to land on the moon in mid-December and will be the first Chinese spacecraft to make a soft landing on any celestial body. It is also the first lunar lander in the 21st century. In recent years, China, Japan, India, the USA and other countries have focused on orbiting the moon.
The spacecraft first entered orbit around the Earth when the frigate (the closest point to the Earth) is at an altitude of 200 kilometers and the farthest point - at an altitude of 380 thousand kilometers - that is, to the Moon.

"The tests showed that the spacecraft entered its intended orbit," said Zhang Zhenzhong, director of the launch center in Shicheng. "I am happy to announce a successful launch, the aspiration to space is part of the Chinese dream of national renewal" he said.

To interest the Chinese public, the Chinese Academy of Sciences opened a microblog account for the Shenja 3 launch mission. Over a quarter of a million participants posted congratulatory messages.

"The soft landing of the spacecraft is the most difficult task during the mission," said Hu Weiren, the chief planner of the Chinese lunar program. "This will be a breakthrough for China to be able to conduct a survey on the moon." According to him over 80% of the technologies used in the mission were developed especially for it.

The next step, for which China has not yet revealed the road map, will be a manned mission to the moon, something that has so far only been carried out by the United States. Even Russia was content with unmanned landings, one of which involved a robotic vehicle.

Shenja or Shang-ah is the name of a Chinese princess who, according to mythology, stole the pills of eternal life and was therefore exiled to the moon together with her rabbit YUTU. It is also the name of the robotic all-terrain vehicle that is inside the spacecraft and is designed to perform reconnaissance missions on the moon.
see also: Rabbit on the moon

According to the news on the website of the Chinese news agency Xinhua

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