Chinese Space Activities in the 1970s
China's first Earth-orbiting satellite Dongfanghong 1, which was placed into the 439 X 2,384km Low Earth Orbit successfully on 24 April 1970. The satellite broadcasted the patriotic song “The East is Red” for 28 days before its battery ran out
China second satellite Shijian 1, which shared the same basic design with Dongfanghong 1, but carried a Geiger- Müller counter and an X-ray detector to explore the space environment in the LEO. The satellite was also equipped with telemetry, thermal control and solar power systems capable of long-term operation
The Changzheng 1 launch vehicle, which was developed from the Dongfeng 4 (CSS-3) IRBM, was retired from service after only two launch missions
A Dongfeng 5 (CSS-4) ICBM on the launch pad in the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre (Shuang Cheng Tzu). The missile was later developed into the Changzheng 2, 3 and 4 series of launch vehicles
The 1970s saw the beginning of China’s space age, with the launch of the country’s first artificial Earth-orbiting satellite Dongfanghong 1 in 1970, the successful launch and recovery of the FSW satellites, and the introduction of the Changzheng 2 space launch booster. China also initiated an ambitious human space flight programme Project 714, but had to abandon the plan later due to technical and financial difficulties. At the same time, Beijing was making breakthrough in its ICBM programme.
30 January: The first successful test flight of the Dongfeng 4 (CSS-3) IRBM from Base 20.
24 April: China successfully sent its first artificial Earth satellite Dongfanghong 1 into space. The satellite was launched from Base 20 (Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre) at local time 21:35 (13:35 GMT) onboard a Changzheng 1 three-stage liquid booster. The satellite entered its orbit (apogee: 2,384km, perigee: 439km, inclination: 68.44°) at 21:48. The satellite broadcasted a patriotic song “The East is Red” for 28 days before its battery ran out.
14 July: Chairman Mao Zedong and Vice Chairman Lin Biao authorised Project 714, a highly-secretive plan to send 1~2 Chinese astronauts into space onboard the Shuguang 1 vehicle before 1974.
3 March: China successfully launched its second satellite Shijian 1 onboard a Changzheng 1 booster. The satellite was described as a scientific research and technology demonstration satellite.
August: The selection of the astronaut candidates began, with the Beijing-based 507 Institute responsible for the highly secretive screening process, and the ‘714 Office’ responsible for the overseeing and coordination of the selection. Over 1,800 fighter jet pilots of the PLA Air Force were sent to Beijing for the screening. A total of 215 candidates were selected from 1,840 fighter jet pilots to go to Beijing for the second phase of the selection in March 1972. However, the funding for the programme soon dried out and the programme was eventually cancelled in 1974.
10 August: The first flight test of the Fengbao 1, a booster version of the Dongfeng 5 (CSS-4) ICBM. The rocket carried a 1,050kg payload.
18 September: The second flight test of the Fengbao 1 booster failed due to second-stage engine failure. The rocket carried a 1,138kg Jishu Shiyan Weixing (JSSW, or Technological Experiment Satellite in its English translation) satellite.
12 July: The third flight test of the Fengbao 1 booster failed due to second-stage engine failure. The rocket carried a 1,108kg JSSW satellite.
5 November: The first attempt to send a FSW recoverable satellite into space failed when the Changzheng 2 booster carrying the satellite exploded 20 seconds after taking off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre. Later investigation suggested that the accident was caused by a disconnected cable for the rocket’s pitch rate gyro signal.
26 July: A Fengbao 1 booster launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre successfully placed a 1,107kg JSSW satellite into Earth orbit (apogee: 474km, perigee: 187km, inclination: 69°, period: 91.02 min).
26 November: The second Changzheng 2 rocket successfully sent the FSW-0-01 satellite into the Low Earth Orbit (apogee: 483km; perigee: 183km; Inclination: 63°). The satellite returned to the Earth three days later and was successfully recovered.
16 December: A Fengbao 1 booster successfully placed a 1,108kg JSSW satellite into Earth orbit (apogee: 387km, perigee: 184km, inclination: 69°, period: 91.22 min).
30 August: A Fengbao 1 booster successfully placed a 1,108kg JSSW satellite into Earth orbit (apogee: 2,145km, perigee: 191km, inclination: 69.17°, period: 108.44 min).
10 November: A Fengbao 1 booster failed to place its payload, a 1,208kg JSSW satellite into the orbit due to second-stage engine failure.
7 December: The launch of the FSW-0-02 satellite.
14 September: A Fengbao 1 booster conducted a depressed trajectory flight to test the technology for the Dongfeng 5 ICBM. The rocket carried a 3,100kg payload.
26 January: The launch of the FSW-0-03 satellite.
15 April: A Fengbao 1 booster conducted a second successful depressed trajectory flight. The rocket carried a 3,100kg payload.
October: The first successful depressed trajectory (DT) flight of the Dongfeng 5 (CSS-4) ICBM.
28 July: A Fengbao 1 booster failed to send its payload, three technological demonstration satellites (Shijian 2, Shijian 2A and Shijian 2B), into orbit due to second-stage engine failure.
Chinese Space Launches in the 1970s
|#||Date||Spacecraft||Role||Orbit||Launch vehicle||Launch site||Status|
|3||1973-09-18||JSSW 1||Tech demo||LEO||FB-1||Jiuquan||Failed|
|4||1974-07-12||JSSW 2||Tech demo||LEO||FB-1||Jiuquan||Failed|
|6||1975-07-26||JSSW 3||Tech demo||LEO||FB-1||Jiuquan||Successful|
|8||1975-12-16||JSSW 3||Tech demo||LEO||FB-1||Jiuquan||Successful|
|9||1976-08-30||JSSW 3||Tech demo||LEO||FB-1||Jiuquan||Successful|
|10||1976-11-10||JSSW 3||Tech demo||LEO||FB-1||Jiuquan||Failed|
Statistics (Launch Vehicle)
Last updated: 23 January 2012