Beijing: China is all set to launch its second lunar probe, Chang``e-2, by early October, which would be the 58th satellite to be launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the country.
According to China Daily, the probe is likely to blast off from the No 2 launch pad on October 1 this year.
Chang``e-2 would test key soft-landing technologies for the Chang``e-3 and provide high-resolution photographs of the landing area, space authorities said.
"It is estimated Chang``e-2 can reach lunar orbit within five days, compared to 13 days, 14 hours and 19 minutes for Chang``e-1," the paper quoted Ouyang Ziyuan, chief scientist at the China Lunar Exploration Project, as saying.
Chang``e-2 will also orbit 100 kilometres closer to the moon and carry a higher resolution camera, he added.
China launched its first lunar probe, Chang``e-1, named after China``s mythical Moon Goddess, on October 24, 2007. Its 16-month mission ended on March 1, 2009, when it crashed into the moon``s surface.
According to China``s three-phase moon exploration road map, the country will launch the Chang``e-2 lunar orbiter and then land Chang``e-3 on the moon in 2013. It is hoped that a sample of moon rock can be brought back to Earth in 2017.