As the space shuttle Discovery was on its way to the International Space Station, China successfully launched its first lunar probe.

The Chang’e-1 spacecraft, named after a mythical Chinese goddess, should begin orbiting the Moon on November 1. It will spend a year studying the lunar surface. China says that this latest mission is part of a program that will place an unmanned vehicle on the Moon by 2012. You can watch a video of the launch here.—Gregory Mone