China will launch its first lunar probe this week, the AP reported. The launch comes weeks after rival Japan launched a lunar probe into the moon's orbit. China's Chang'e 1 orbiter will be launched between October 24 and 26, with the ideal time being 6pm on October 24, according to the China National Space Administration. The probe will depart from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwestern China's Sichuan province. The space administration said pre-launch inspections were complete. If the launch goes to plan, the probe will initially orbit the Earth and enter the moon's orbit by November 5, after which it will analyze the chemical and mineral composition of the moon's surface using stereo cameras and X-ray spectrometers. It is expected to send its first lunar photo to China in the second half of November, after which it will continue to operate for a year. Another Chinese rival, India, plans to launch its own lunar probe in April.