China has declared the launch of its first satellite, DFH-1 aboard a CZ-1 rocket on 24 April 1970 as the most important event in China's space history.
China Celebrates 30th Anniversary Of First Satellite Launch
by Wei Long
Beijing - April 25, 2000 - The launch of China's first satellite has been named by a selection committee as the most important event in the Chinese space program.

Thirty years ago China launched its first satellite Dongfanghong-1 (DFH-1, Dongfanghong means "East Is Red") using a domestic launcher, the Changzheng-1 (CZ-1, Changzheng means "Long March") rocket. The mission caught world attention and propelled China to become the fifth country to achieve independent launch capability.

The selection committee consisted of more than 20 academics from the space technology sections of the two Chinese academies of sciences and engineering.

The Chairman of the committee was Song Jian, President of the Chinese Academy of Engineering. Other distinguished committee members included space pioneers and space achievement award recipients Wang Daheng, Chen Fangyun, Ren Xinmin, Sun Jiadong, Yang Jiachi, Wang Xiji and Huang Weilu.

The successful unmanned maiden flight of the Shenzhou capsule last November was ranked fourth in this selection.

In a different selection at the beginning of the year, more than 500 academics from the same two Chinese academies voted the Shenzhou mission as the top Chinese technology development in 1999.

The list of top ten space events:

  1. Launch of first artificial satellite, 24 April 1970. A CZ-1 rocket launched the first Chinese artificial satellite DFH-1 marking China's entry into the "space age".

  2. Launch of retrievable satellite, 26 November 1975. A CZ-2 rocket launched the retrievable satellite Fanhui Shi Weixing-01 (FSW-01, Fanhui Shi Weixing means "Retrievable Test Satellite") into orbit with a successful recovery three days later. China gained a major breakthrough in satellite reentry technology and became the third nation to acquire such a capability.

  3. Launch of geostationary communications satellite, 8 April 1984. A CZ-3 rocket launched the experimental communications satellite DFH-2 enabled China to reach the space technology application phase in its space program. China became the fifth nation to have the capability to develop, manufacture and launch geostationary satellites.

  4. Launch of experimental manned spacecraft, 20 November 1999. A new model CZ-2F rocket launched Shenzhou experimental spacecraft which made a successful return 21 hours later. China manned spaceflight technology made a historic leap.

  5. Launch of joint China-Brazil resource satellite, 14 October 1999. A CZ-4B launched the remote sensing satellite Ziyuan-1 (ZY-1, Ziyuan means "Resource"), with integrated capabilities matching similar satellites of other countries. The launch further extended China's application satellite capabilities.

  6. Launch of sunsynchronous meteorological satellite, 7 September 1988. A CZ-4 rocket launched meteorological satellite Fengyun-1 (FY-1, Fengyun means "Wind and Cloud" promoted modernization of meteorological services in China.

  7. Launch of heavy-lift rocket, 14 August 1992. A CZ-2E rocket with strap-on boosters launched the Australian communications satellite Optus B1, which was built by the American company Hughes. Technologies demonstrated in the launch included more powerful engines, larger satellite payload shroud and operations with strap-on boosters.

  8. Launch of large-capacity communications satellite, 12 May 1997. A CZ-3A rocket launched communications satellite DFH-3 enabling a major breakthrough in large-capacity communications satellite technology.

  9. Announcement of entering international commercial satellite launch market, 25 October 1985. Since the first commercial launch of Asiasat-1 comsat on 7 April 1990, China has successfully launched 26 foreign satellites.

  10. Launch of heavy-lift rocket to high orbit, 20 August 1997. A CZ-3B rocket launched Mabuhay Agila 2 communications satellite for Mabuhay Philippine Satellite Corp. The launch extended CZ geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) payload capacity to 5 tonnes, thus enhancing China's competitiveness in international commercial satellite launch market.

 Jiuquan To Be Gateway For China's Taikonauts
by Wei Long
Beijing - April 12, 2000 - The Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center (JSLC) has been chosen as the gateway for China's yuhangyuan (astronaut), to reach orbit in the coming years, the China News Service reported Tuesday.