India set to launch spacecraft into lunar orbit

NEW DELHI (AP) -- The latest lunar mission is being launched by India.

The Wednesday morning launch will send a satellite toward an orbit around the moon, for a two-year mapping project.

In the last year, Asian nations have taken the lead in exploring the moon. Last year, Japan and China both sent up spacecraft. The Indian satellite will join them in orbit around the moon.

Until now, only the U.S., Russia, the European Space Agency, Japan and China have sent missions to the moon. The U.S. remains the only nation to have landed a man on the lunar surface.

The Indian launch comes just months after India finalized a deal with the U.S. that recognizes India as a nuclear power.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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