Thu, September 25, 2008
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FACTBOX: Timeline of China's space industry

2008-08-11 08:21:55 GMT2008-08-11 16:21:55 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English

Transmission tower (File photo)

BEIJING, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) -- Starting from 1956, China's space industry has realized great achievements. Here is a timetable of the country's space industry.

October 8, 1956: The Fifth Academy of the National Defense Ministry -- the country's first rocket research institution – was founded, symbolizing the birth of the Chinese space industry.

July 19, 1964: The first biological rocket was launched, carrying white mice into space.

April 1, 1968: Institute of Space Medico-Engineering was established, initiating the selection and training of astronauts and the manned space flight medical engineering research.

April 24, 1970: First artificial Earth satellite -- Dong Fang Hong-1 Satellite -- was launched at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center as China joins the former Soviet Union, America, France and Japan as the fifth country to launch satellites.

November 26, 1975: The launch and recovery of the first recoverable satellite makes China the third country to master this technology.

1979: Yuanwang-1 ocean-going tracking ship was commissioned, making China the fourth country to possess such a vessel.

1985: The Long March rocket series began to initiate commercial launch programs. In 1990, Long March 3 launched the first foreign satellite -- the U.S.-built AsiaSat 1.

1988: Ministry of Aerospace Industry was founded.

1992: The Chinese manned space program was officially adopted.

From 1990 to 2002, China launched four unmanned spaceships (Shenzhou 1 to Shenzhou 4), laying solid foundations for future manned spacecraft.

October 15, 2003: The launch of its first manned aircraft -- Shenzhou 5 -- sent one astronaut into space. The 21-hour flight allowed China to become the third country to independently conduct manned space flights, following the Soviet Union and the United States.

October 12, 2005: Shenzhou 6 manned aircraft was launched, sending two astronauts into space.

October 24, 2007: The first unmanned lunar orbiter -- Chang'e 1-- was launched, making China the fifth country to master this technology.

2009: The first Mars probe is scheduled to be launched in a joint mission with Russia in October 2009.

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