Russia launched its first moon-landing spacecraft in 47 years on Friday in a bid to be the first nation to make a soft landing on the lunar south pole, a region believed to hold coveted pockets of water ice.

The Russian lunar mission, the first since 1976, is racing against India, which launched its Chandrayaan-3 lunar lander last month, and more broadly with the United States and China, both of which have advanced lunar exploration programs targeting the lunar south pole.

A Soyuz 2.1v rocket carrying the Luna-25 craft blasted off from the Vostochny cosmodrome, 5,550 kilometers east of Moscow, at 2:11 a.m. on Friday, Moscow time, with its upper stage boosting the lander out of Earth's orbit toward the moon over an hour later, Russia's space agency Roscosmos confirmed.