BEIJING, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese spacecraft carrying the country's first lunar samples blasted off from the moon late Thursday, the China National Space Administration announced.
This represented the first-ever Chinese spacecraft to take off from an extraterrestrial body.
China's Chang'e-5 probe, comprising an orbiter, a lander, an ascender and a returner, was launched on Nov. 24, and its lander-ascender combination touched down on the north of the Mons Rumker in Oceanus Procellarum, also known as the Ocean of Storms, on the near side of the moon on Dec. 1.
After the samples were collected and sealed, the ascender of Chang'e-5 took off from the lunar surface, and is expected to complete unmanned rendezvous and docking with the orbiter-returner in lunar orbit, an unprecedented feat.
Chang'e-5 is one of the most complicated and challenging missions in Chinese aerospace history, as well as the world's first moon-sample mission in more than 40 years.