Recently China’s Chang’e-5 spacecraft returned to Inner Mongolia, in China, bringing samples from the Moon. China’s space mission is one of the most important in history after the famous Apollo 11 of 1969.
Chang’e, goddess of the Moon, and the women behind it
The space craft is named after Chang’e, goddess of the Moon in Chinese folklore.
Chang’e-5 was successful in one of the most ambitious space missions of history. While most know about the successes of NASA and, more recently, Space X, not much attention goes to the efforts of other countries.
We feel more should know about the real goddesses behind Chang’e.
They are the many workers who are behind the project, and some became very popular in China.
Zhou Chengyu, 24, candidate for PhD in Chemical Engineering, is perhaps the most popular one. At her young age, she was commander of the rocket connector system during the moon exploration program.
The second is a scientist, Cai Zhen, 37 and microbiology researcher, specialized in recycling carbon dioxide. Then we have Cui Yihan, managing the rocket-launching software.
Next is Sun Zhenlian, director of the rocket launch supporting system. Sun cried out of joy in 2019 at the successful launch of Long-March-3 rocket, which already made her popular before.
Zhu Xuejun, 58, is an expert in missile tech. She already won different achievements in the past for her work. And many others follow. Yet, science is still not without issues from a perspective of gender. That applies also to China.
China’s absence in the International Space Station
China has an individual space program due to having been denied access to the International Space Station, or ISS. NASA itself is not allowed to cooperate with China due to the American federal law. Regardless of the political issues, China anyway went on with its projects. And that’s not all.
China will share its retrievals with scientists and countries all over the world. Wu Yanhua, deputy head of the National Space Administration of China, said:
“We will share with the relevant countries and scientists overseas, and some of them may be given as national gifts in accordance with international practices.”