|Chinese President Xi Jinping and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang shake hands with scientists to congratulate the complete success of Chang'e-3 mission at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center in Beijing, capital of China, Dec. 15, 2013. The Yutu moon rover and Chang'e-3 moon lander took photos of each other Sunday night, marking the complete success of the Chang'e-3 lunar probe mission. (Xinhua/Ding Lin)|
BEIJING, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday night congratulated the success of Chang'e-3 lunar probe that completed the country's first softlanding on lunar surface.
The moon rover Yutu, or Jade Rabbit, and the lander took pictures of each other on Sunday night, a move that marked the complete success of Chang'e 3 mission. Xi, along with Premier Li Keqiang and other senior officials, watched the live broadcast of the move at Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC).
After the photographing, Ma Xingrui, chief commander of China's lunar program, announced the Chang'e-3 mission was a "complete success".
In a congratulatory message sent by the Communist Party of China Central Commitee, the State Council and the Central Military Commission, the success of the Chang'e 3 mission was hailed as a "milestone" in the development of China's space programs, a "new glory" of the Chinese people in their exploration of the frontiers of science and technology and "outstanding contribution" of the Chinese nation in the mankind's peaceful use of the space.
The message, read by Vice Premier Ma Kai, attributed the success of the mission to the staunch leadership of the Communist Party of China Central Committee with Xi Jinping as the general secretary and the implementation of the country's innovation-driven development model on the front of space programs.
Chang'e 3 mission marked the full completion of the second phase of China's lunar program, which includes orbiting, landing and returning to the Earth, reads the message.
After the mission, China's lunar program will enter a new stage of unmanned automatic sampling and return, which will be more difficult with unprecedented challenges.
The Chang'e-3 mission is one of the most complicated and difficult tasks in China's space program, the message said, adding that exploring the universe and seeking peaceful use of space are dreams of the Chinese nation for thousands of years.
Comprising a lander and moon rover Yutu, or Jade Rabbit, Chang'e-3 lunar probe soft-landed on moon at 9:11 p.m. Saturday Beijing Time. Yutu later separated from the lander and rolled to moon surface earlier Sunday.
The Chang'e 3 mission makes China the third country after the Soviet Union and the United States to soft land a spacecraft on lunar soil.