China plans to launch an unmanned spacecraft to the moon between 4 am and 5 am Beijing time on Tuesday (2000-2100 GMT on Monday), the official Xinhua news agency said, citing information from the country's National Space Administration.

The Chang'e-5 probe, to be launched from China's southern Hainan province, is being sent to bring back lunar rocks in the first attempt by any country to retrieve samples from the moon since the 1970s.

(Reporting by Tom Daly; Editing by Toby Chopra) ((; +86 10 5669 2119;))