Special report: China launches
first lunar orbiter
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao unveils the
moon image captured by China's lunar orbiter Chang'e-1 during an unveiling
ceremony at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center in Beijing, capital of
China, Nov. 26, 2007. China published the first picture of the moon
captured by Chang'e-1 on Monday morning, marking the success of the
country's first lunar probe project. (Xinhua Photo)
BEIJING, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao asserted in a
passionate and inspiring speech on Monday that China has joined the select group
of world powers with the capabilities to engage in deep-space exploration.
After unveiling the first picture of the moon surface taken by Chang'e-1,
China's first lunar probe, Wen said that the dream of the Chinese people for
more than 1,000 years of flying to the Moon had begun to materialize.
Wen said that lunar probe was the third milestone in China's space
exploration following the successes of man-made satellites and manned space
The success, he said, not only manifested China's rising national strength
and technical innovation capability, but also elevated the country's
international status and cemented national cohesion.
"It showcases eloquently that the Chinese people have the will, the
ambition and the capability to compose more shining new chapters while ascending
the science and technology summit," he said.
Citing a letter from an overseas Chinese, Wen said that the farther the
China-made satellite flew, the higher would the overseas Chinese hold their
Chang'e-1, named after a mythical Chinese goddess who according to legend
flew to the moon, blasted off on a Long March 3A carrier rocket on Oct. 24
shortly after Japan launched its first lunar probe, Kaguya, in mid-September.
The first high-definition image of the Earth rising was taken by Kaguya on
Oct. 14. With India and the Republic of Korea planning to send their own lunar
probes into space, concerns of a space race in Asia have arisen.
Looking to the future of China's three-step moon exploration which will lead to a moon landing and the launch of a moon rover around 2012 and the taking-back of lunar soil and stone samples for scientific research around 2017, Wen said that the initial success had "blazed a new trail and accumulated valuable experience" for China to improve its overall capability in science and technology.