China's milestone lunar orbiter project only costs 1 to 1.4 billion yuan (about 133 to 187 million U.S. dollars), the same amount as the money used to construct two kilometers of subway in Beijing, said Ouyang Ziyuan, chief scientist of the lunar exploration program.
Ouyang said the amount is not an astronomical number for China's economy and will boost the development of national science and technology instead.
"It will generate many new scientific subjects and train a group of talents in aerospace field," he said.
China launched its first lunar probe on Wednesday, marking a new milestone in the country's space exploration history.
The circumlunar satellite Chang'e-1 blasted off on a Long March 3A carrier rocket at 6:05 p.m. from the No. 3 launching tower in the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwestern Sichuan Province.
(Xinhua News Agency October 24, 2007)