On April 24, 1970, a young man in a village in northwest China's Shaanxi Province was thrilled to get the news that China sent its first satellite Dongfanghong-1 into space.
That young man, Xi Jinping, later became Chinese President.
Still having his eyes on stars today, Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, has been extending congratulations and encouragement to the country's space projects.
SCALING NEW SCI-TECH HEIGHTS
"It is a vital milestone in the development of China's space endeavor," said Xi when he met representatives of space scientists and engineers who participated in the research and development of the Chang'e-5 lunar mission last February.
After China formally established its lunar exploration "Project Chang'e" in 2004, the country, within 20 years, successfully concluded its three-step lunar exploration program of orbiting, landing, and bringing back samples.
Xi summed up the lunar exploration spirit as pursuing dreams, daring to explore, cooperating in tackling difficulties and win-win cooperation.
The lunar exploration spirit has become a valuable spiritual asset for the Chinese people, especially those working in the scientific and technological fields, guiding them to make new achievements in space station construction and deep space exploration.
In the congratulatory message on the successful landing of China's first probe on Mars last May, Xi said the landing, which left a Chinese mark on Mars for the first time, is another landmark progress in China's space industry development.
One month later, during his talk with the three astronauts stationed in the space station core module Tianhe, Xi called the construction of the space station a milestone in China's space endeavor, noting that the three astronauts are the representatives of those who are striving and climbing in China's space industry in the new era.
SERVING OVERALL DEVELOPMENT
It took 10 years to develop and launch the Chang'e-5 probe. China achieved many major breakthroughs including its first lunar surface sampling and sealing, first liftoff from the moon, first rendezvous and docking in lunar orbit, and first spacecraft carrying samples to re-enter the Earth's atmosphere.
How to wrestle with unprecedented difficulties and challenges?
In the congratulatory message in December 2020, Xi said the success of the Chang'e-5 mission is another major achievement in overcoming difficulties by giving full play to the advantages of the new system of pooling national resources and strength.
When meeting the Chang'e-5 delegation last February, Xi again called for leveraging the advantages of the new system of pooling national resources and strengths, enhancing independent innovation and strengthening overall planning.
Facing major challenges and national missions, exerting the advantages of the new system has become the key to success.
From the lunar and Mars missions to crewed spaceflights and space station construction, China's space projects draw together thousands of units and tens of thousands of sci-tech workers from across the country. Every breakthrough in technology and every step of the project is the result of unity and cooperation.
OPEN MIND FOR COOPERATION
On multiple occasions, Xi has said that exploring the vast universe is a common dream of all humankind. He also voiced the hope that China wants to enhance cooperation with the international community in peaceful space exploration and development.
Based on the principle of equality and mutual benefit, peaceful utilization and a win-win situation, China has actively cooperated with the world in lunar exploration, Mars exploration, satellite projects and launch services to promote the common progress and long-term sustainable development of the space industry.
When the Chinese leader met with the Chang'e-5 mission representatives, Xi called for actively conducting international cooperation and making better contributions to humanity's well-being, encouraging international joint research in space science based on the lunar samples to support science results sharing.
In the congratulatory message on China's success in landing on Mars, Xi called for greater contributions to exploring the mysteries of the universe and promoting the noble cause of peace and development of humanity.
During his talk with the Shenzhou-12 astronauts last year, Xi said the station will make pioneering contributions to the peaceful use of space by humanity. He noted that progress in space science and technology will benefit people around the world and China wants to use space exploration achievements to create a better future for mankind.
China is expected to complete its space station later this year, pledging to make it an open platform for international cooperation. Extensive cooperation will be carried out concerning the functional expansion of the space station, space science and applications, joint flights of Chinese and foreign astronauts, and the transformation of technological achievements.
China welcomes cooperation proposals for joint flights of Chinese and foreign astronauts, which could be realized after the construction of the space station is completed.