China launched the Chang'e-3 lunar probe with the country's first moon rover aboard early on Monday, marking a significant step toward deep space exploration.
The probe's carrier, an enhanced Long March-3B rocket, blasted off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China at 1:30 a.m.
Chang'e-3 is expected to land on the moon in mid-December to become China's first spacecraft to soft land on the surface of an extraterrestrial body.
It is also the first moon lander launched in the 21st century.
The probe entered the earth-moon transfer orbit as scheduled, with a perigee of 200 kilometers and apogee of 380,000 kilometers.
"The probe has already entered the designated orbit," said Zhang Zhenzhong, director of the launch center in Xichang. "I now announce the launch was successful."