(Newsroom America) -- China is planning its first moon landing sometime next year, state media reported, the latest in an ambitious space program aimed at boosting the Asian economic giant's prestige and technological prowess.
China's third lunar probe is set to blast off in the second half of 2013, reports said, adding that the vehicle would land and send back data from the moon's surface.
If it is successful, it would be China's first lunar landing - some four decades after the last U.S. mission landed there.
China's space program kicked off in 1999 with the launch of the unmanned Shenzhou-1. In 2003 China sent its first man into space. Since then Beijing's space program has completed a space walk and an unmanned docking between a module and a rocket last year.
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