China on Thursday launched its first mission to Mars, local media reported.
The mission, named Tianwen-1, was launched on a Long March-5 Y4 carrier rocket from Wenchang Space Launch Center in the southern Hainan province, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
The China National Space Administration said that after flying for roughly 2,000 seconds, the spacecraft entered the planned Earth-Mars transfer orbit, officially embarking on its journey to the Red Planet which is estimated to take roughly seven months.
Preparations were completed last week for the country’s first Mars exploration mission — the first in the world that seeks to deploy an orbiter, lander and rover all at once.
Chinese space researchers said the Tianwen-1 Mars probe is expected to reach Mars’s gravity field in February 2021.
The fourth Long March-5 rocket — China’s largest launch vehicle so far — was vertically transported to the Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan last Friday. The rocket had previously been tested three times.
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