Beijing, Nov 30: China's Chang'e-5 probe is preparing for a soft landing on the moon to undertake the country's first collection of samples from an extraterrestrial body, it was announced on Monday.

The lander-ascender combination of the spacecraft separated from its orbiter-returner combination at around 4.40 a.m. on Monday (Beijing Time), Xinhua news agency quoted the China National Space Administration (CNSA) as saying. China Launches Chang'e-5 Spacecraft To Moon To Collect Samples, Return To Earth.

Launched on November 24, Chang'e-5 is one of the most complicated and challenging missions in China's aerospace history, as well as the world's first moon-sample mission for more than 40 years.

The spacecraft is performing well and communication with ground control is normal, CNSA said.

The lander-ascender combination will execute a soft landing on the moon and carry out automatic sampling.

The orbiter-returner will continue orbiting about 200 km above the lunar surface and wait for rendezvous and docking with the ascender.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Nov 30, 2020 11:55 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website