Farmer Wu Mingfa and his neighbours plan to take a break from work in their fields in Chuanxing county, Xichang , this afternoon to watch the launch of Chang'e, China's first lunar satellite. And they're hoping for change in their lives too. Mr Wu, 64, said he had a good spot picked out - a hilltop beyond military control with 'a view just as good as the 800-yuan ticket ones'. 'The launch will be a spectacle,' he said. He has watched several launches already from the site in Sichuan province . Yet he is still transfixed each time he watches the rockets go up and hears the distant thunder. 'It is as if we are seeing the manifestation of the central government's mighty power, which gives us hope in the face of the darkness brought by local officials in real life,' he said. 'There is too much corruption, poverty and inequality in Xichang, which I hope leaders from Beijing can see. They have made good policies, such as agricultural subsidies and land-use regulations, but city officials manipulate or simply ignore them. 'Each time leaders come to see a satellite launch, local officials take them to see the best side of the city. They never go to the countryside, never have time to talk to farmers. 'If we have the ability to send a satellite to the moon, why is it so difficult to send all corrupt officials to prison?' The rocket will blast off at 6pm if everything, especially the weather, goes to plan. Weather becomes less predictable in Xichang in October as the area lurches from rainy season to dry season, according to experts. Nearly 2,000 spectators, including government officials, military representatives, journalists and some tourists, will reach the viewing platforms by 3pm. Space security expert Sun Jiwen said the launch of the probe marked the nation's transition to a new stage of space science and technology.