AFP

BEIJING

China will launch its latest lunar orbiter in the coming days, state media said Wednesday, in its first attempt to send a spacecraft around the moon and back to Earth. The spacecraft, which has not been named, will launch between Friday and Sunday, China’s official Xinhua news agency reported. It is China’s first lunar module capable of returning to Earth, which will require withstanding the high temperatures that develop when a probe re-enters the terrestrial atmosphere. It is intended to test technology to be used in the Chang’e-5, China’s fourth lunar probe, which aims to gather samples from the moon’s surface and will be launched around 2017, according to China’s State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence (SASTIND).