A Long March-5 rocket, carrying the Chang'e-5 spacecraft, blasts off from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site on the coast of southern island province of Hainan, Nov. 24, 2020. (Xinhua/Guo Cheng)
LHASA, Dec. 18 (Xinhua) -- As China's Chang'e-5 space probe accomplished its mission after 23 days of space flight, bringing moon samples back to Earth, 13-year-old Dainzin Sangzhub was left euphoric.
The lad, an astrophile, was one of the students selected from China's Tibet Autonomous Region to witness the launch of Chang'e-5 on Nov. 24 in south China's Hainan, more than 2,300 km away from his hometown.
The probe was carried into space by a Long March-5 rocket from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site, on a historic moon-sample mission, laying an important foundation for China's future manned lunar landing and deep space exploration. It is also the world's first such mission in more than 40 years.
"We had our eyes fixed on the launch pad for fear of missing a single moment of its blast-off," recalled Dainzin Sangzhub after he returned to Tibet.
"We began the countdown and then we saw the rocket spouting flames and going up into the sky. I could feel its impact though I was far away from the location," he said. "It was spectacular!"
A middle school student in Tibet's Dangxiong County, Dainzin Sangzhub had his first rendezvous with the universe in the kindergarten, when he was 6 years old.
"One day, our teacher brought us some books and I chose a book on astronomy. I was thrilled to see the depiction of outer space, and I have been in love with astronomy and aerospace ever since."
Having been fascinated with the mysterious, vast cosmos overhead, the teenager never missed any astronomy-related events at school. His ardent love for the universe and the first place in his recent mid-term exam won him the chance to go to Hainan.
A total of 22 students from Tibet witnessed the historic rocket launch in Hainan. They came from various parts of the region, including the regional capital Lhasa, Shannan, Xigaze, Ali and Nagqu.
"It's a rare opportunity for students in Tibet to see the latest technology of our motherland, and I believe they learned a lot there," said Tsegyi, a teacher that led the visiting students.
Dainzin Sangzhub was delighted to learn that Chang'e-5 probe had returned safely in the early hours of Thursday. "Chang'e-5 performed a semi-ballistic reentry to get back to the Earth and brought back 'gifts' from the moon. I want to become an astronaut and develop cooler technologies to explore the universe," he said. ■