Space Day of China: From Dongfanghong-1 to China Space Station

50 years of hard work, 50 years of pursuing the Chinese Dream. From the Dongfanghong-1 satellite, to the Shenzhou manned spacecraft traveling through the galaxy, to the "Shenzhou", "Tianzhou" and "Tiangong" rendezvous and docking, and now the gate of the space station is slowly opening. In the past 50 years, Chinese astronauts have been self-reliant and independent, one step at a time, creating tremendous fruits. Each launch is a spiritual relay through time and space. Satellites, rockets, and spaceships have witnessed China's aerospace industry from scratch, from development to growth, and from China's splendid journey into space and toward the world's space power.



For thousands of years, the Chinese have never interrupted their imagination and longing for the universe. Carrying the desire of predecessors for space, Chinese astronauts have made unremitting efforts and worked hard.

At 21:35 on April 24, 1970, the Long March-1 rocket flew into the sky with Dongfanghong-1. A melodious "Dongfanghong" music played in the vast space, proclaiming that China has officially entered the space era. At 20:29 the next day, Dongfanghong-1 passed over Beijing, with Tiananmen Square filled with people, all eyes closely following this hard-won "star". The cause of aerospace lifted national confidence and national dignity. The "sky road" for the development of China's aerospace industry was truly broken through by the older generation of scientists and technicians.

The glory belongs to yesterday, the future is the goal of chasing. In the year when Dongfanghong-1 was launched, China launched its first Manned Space Program. On September 21, 1992, the Central Government formally decided to launch the China Manned Space Program, and determined a "three-step" development strategy. China Manned Space was suggested by four scientists, fully discussed by 100 aerospace experts, and decisively determined by national leaders, and finally opened a new page. The "flying dream" of the Chinese nation has become a reality in real action.



In 1999, Shenzhou-I was successfully launched, realizing a major breakthrough in transportation between space and the ground. The design of Shenzhou-I spacecraft directly targets the third-generation three-cabin spacecraft in the world, striding through the development history of the US-Soviet "unmanned-single-multiple" spacecraft. In the following three years, China continuously launched the unmanned spacecraft Shenzhou-II, III, and IV. On October 15, 2003, the vast space finally welcomed its first Chinese guest. The Shenzhou-V spacecraft carried Yang Liwei circling 14 times around the Earth. China Manned Space won the first battle, marking a step of great historical significance on the journey of the Chinese people to climb the world ’s technological peak.

On October 12, 2005, the Shenzhou-VI spacecraft carried two astronauts, Fei Junlong and Nie Haisheng, successfully achieved the "multi-person multi-day" flight mission, and successfully achieved the first task goal of the Program. On September 25, 2008, three astronauts Zhai Zhigang, Liu Boming and Jing Haipeng flew into space on board the Shenzhou-VII spacecraft. Zhai Zhigang took the first step of the Chinese people walking into space, making China the third country in the world to independently master the key technology of extravehicular activity in space. In June 2012, Shenzhou-IX sent astronauts Jing Haipeng, Liu Wang, and China's first female astronaut Liu Yang into space. During the first manual docking with Tiangong-1, Liu Wang performed a beautiful "Space Bull’s Eye". In June 2013, astronaut Wang Yaping of the Shenzhou-X mission gave China’s first space lecture on Tiangong-1, sowing the seeds of science and dreams for the youth.

On October 17, 2016, the Shenzhou-XI spacecraft sent Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong to space. During the on-orbit flight, Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong completed several "firsts": the first human-machine coordinated mechanical arm on-orbit maintenance technology tryout, the first medical ultrasound examination in space flight ... so far, 11 Chinese astronauts have flown into space, cruising for 68 days, flying more than 1,000 times around the Earth, and traveling more than 46 million kilometers, creating a new miracle of human exploration of space.

Each launch is a step forward. Every manned space flight in China is a breakthrough and a brand-new challenge: from Shenzhou-I to Shenzhou-XI, from one person to many people and many days, from the first extravehicular activity to manual rendezvous and docking, and to today's mid-term stay of astronauts in space, each set a new milestone for China Manned Space Program, and each time witnessed the development and maturity of China's space industry.



In 2011, on the China Manned Space stage, it was no longer the "one-man show" of Shenzhou spacecraft. On September 29, 2011, China's first target aircraft Tiangong-1 was launched into orbit. A month later, Shenzhou-VIII took off and chased after it. At 1:36 am on November 3, the two spacecrafts joined "hand in hand" in space, completing China's first space unmanned automatic rendezvous and docking, marking China as the third country in the world to autonomously master automatic rendezvous and docking technology.

On September 15, 2016, China's first real space laboratory, Tiangong-2, flew into space on the Long March-2F rocket, carrying a total of 14 payloads, as well as aerospace medical laboratory equipment and on-orbit maintenance test equipment. At this point, the manned space industry has entered a new stage of utilization development.

On April 20, 2017, the first cargo spaceship, Tianzhou-1, was launched into space, solving the problem of space cargo transportation required for the construction and long-term operation of the space station. The multiple "space refueling" of Tianzhou-1 and Tiangong-2 has made China the third country in the world to master the on-orbit propellant refueling technology. As the final battle of the space laboratory mission, the completion of the Tianzhou-1 mission marks the realization of the “second step” of the “three-step” plan for China ’s manned spaceflight project, and also advances China Manned Space to the era of the space station.

According to the planned deployment, China will soon implement the first mission of the Long March-5B carrier rocket, and then launch the China Space Station core module and experiment module, and launch a number of manned spaceships and cargo spaceships to carry out personnel transportation and material supply, complete the space station on-orbit construction, build a national space laboratory with a cooperative and open attitude, carry out larger space science experiments and technical tryouts, and strive to obtain research results of great scientific value and utilization results of great strategic significance to all mankind. The China Space Station will become the home in space for China and even mankind, and the new spiritual coordinates of mankind in the vast universe. And our pace of exploration will not stop at the space station, but will move towards the moon and deeper space.


China Space Station

The footsteps of the times have always become more solid as we continue to overcome difficulties and obstacles. To explore great changes, there must be a constant source of strength.

China Manned Space is an unprecedented complex system project. In a relatively short period of time, astronauts have continuously made historic breakthroughs, relying on the spirit of manned spaceflight "especially able to endure hardships, combat, break through, and contribute”. From the laboratory to the various production enterprises, from the aerospace launch site in the depths of the desert to the Yuanwang survey ship on the vast ocean, the footprints and sweat of the astronauts were left everywhere. They faced the difficulties, worked stubbornly, with amazing perseverance and courage, they overcame all kinds of unimaginable difficulties, and wrote a magnificent poem about the motherland's aerospace career with blood and sweat.

On the development path of China's aerospace industry, tens of millions of astronauts have linked their personal ideals with the fate of the motherland and their personal choices with the needs of the country. The manned space industry is described as "one arrow per thousand people, one lance per 10,000 people" -- the project has directly involved more than 100 units, thousands of units, and more than 100,000 engineering personnel participated in the test. Rocket engines from Xi'an, solar panels from Tianjin, propellers from Shanghai, components from Sichuan ... This is a sea of trickles, which is a strong voice of the times focused on doing great things. It is precisely the great power of the times and the inexhaustible motive force that help China Manned Space leapfrog the peak of science and technology.

"Zero Defects, Zero Doubts, Zero Failures", "Meticulousness, Miss No Minutes to Seconds" ... These slogans reflect the rigorous and realistic style of Chinese astronauts in the new era and demonstrate the outstanding innovation capabilities of Chinese astronauts.

For fifty years, the "two bombs and one star" spirit of "love the motherland, selfless dedication, self-reliance, hard work, vigorous coordination, and the courage to climb" has inspired generations of astronauts to advance to their dreams. From the breakthrough of Dongfanghong-1, the door of the China Space Station is about to open. China Manned Space has undergone earth-shaking changes, yet the core spirit remained unchanged. Even as time goes on, there is always an ideal. The universe is endless, exploration is endless, every new height is a new starting point, and every inquiry is a new beginning of the next exploration. Looking up at the starry sky, chasing dreams. China will play a new chapter to explore the universe and rise to a new height of the Chinese national spirit!


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