Chang'e I blastoff gives some a boost but fails to thrill others

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 25 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 25 October, 2007, 12:00am

While some people on the mainland were clearly excited about the launch of Chang'e I, others couldn't care less.

Lu Mingde , a farmer in Shanghai's Jinshan district, said he had heard about the satellite's launch and believed it showed science and technology on the mainland were among the best in the world.

'I read the party newspaper Jiefang Daily every day, from which I understand that the satellite will survey the surface of the moon and will provide helpful information for our scientific research and military improvement,' Mr Lu said.

More than 300 Web visitors to showed similar enthusiasm for the launch, with one person wondering if Chang'e I would plant a national flag on the moon.

Another asked how people could tune in to the satellite's broadcast of 30 Chinese songs, while a third was curious when China would launch a manned lunar orbiter, like the US did decades ago.

A contributor to Shanghai-based said he was excited because China's millennium-old legend would finally be realised - humans would reach the moon.

But not every one was so keen on the aerospace project. Liu Chuanmei , a software engineer in Beijing, said she did not know what the satellite would be used for.

She was also confused about the difference between the orbiter and Shenzhou V and VI, the missions that carried mainland astronauts into the space.

'I've heard the name a lot recently, but nobody talks about it in our office because we are all very busy at work,' Ms Liu said. 'I am not sure how significant this launch is. But in my eyes the state pours so much money into the space project just to show its power and make sure Americans do not bully us.'

Fund management marketing director Oliver Schuuman, a Dutch-Canadian who has been in Shanghai for a year, said he did not know Chang'e was a legendary goddess or a satellite.

'I didn't hear about the news of China's launch, but it is interesting because I know Japan recently launched a lunar orbiter,' he said, adding that he had read an article saying China would be on the moon before Nasa returned. He also noted how quickly the mainland had developed its space programme.