China plans to launch lunar probe Chang'e-5 in 2017, according to the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense.
The development of Chang'e-5 is proceeding smoothly, said the administration's spokesman Wu Zhijian at a press conference on Monday.
The just-concluded Chang'e-3 mission marked completion of the second phase of the country's lunar program, which includes orbiting, landing and returning to Earth.
The lunar program will enter the next stage of unmanned sampling and returning, which will include Chang'e-5 and 6 missions, according to Wu.
(Xinhua News Agency December 16, 2013)