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Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center and China’s space exploration odyssey

(People's Daily Online)    14:30, May 29, 2019

A bird's-eye view of the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center (Photo/Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center)

Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center (JSLC), China’s first and largest comprehensive space mission launch center, as well as the only manned space flight launch center in China, has witnessed many firsts and major achievements in China’s space exploration.

On Nov. 5, 1960, the first Chinese-made ground-to-ground missile was successfully launched from JSLC, marking an important turning point in the course of China’s endeavors to push back the frontiers of science and technology for national security.

On Oct. 27, 1966, China’s first experiment on the combination of missile technology with atomic bombs succeeded in JSLC.

On April 24, 1970, China successfully launched its first satellite, Dongfanghong-1, into orbit from JSLC, which signified that China now had its own satellite technology.

On Nov. 26, 1975, China’s first recoverable satellite was successfully launched from JSLC, marking the point when China had mastered the technologies required to send space crafts into space and retrieve them from space.

(Photo/Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center)

On May 18, 1980, China’s first long-range carrier rocket was successfully launched from JSLC, signifying China’s capability to launch long-range strikes.

On Sept. 20, 1981, China successfully launched a set of three satellites with one carrier rocket from JSLC.

On Nov. 20, 1999, China’s experimental Shenzhou-1 unmanned spacecraft was successfully sent into orbit from JSLC, marking the start of China’s manned space flight project.

On Oct. 15, 2003, Shenzhou-5, China’s first manned space vehicle carrying Chinese astronaut Yang Liwei, was launched into space from JSLC, realizing what had been a dream of Chinese people for thousands years: sending humans into space.

On Sept. 25, 2008, China’s Shenzhou-7 manned spacecraft was sent into space from JSLC. Chinese astronaut Zhai Zhigang finished an extravehicular task and performed a historic spacewalk, which made China the third country in the world to send astronaut into space and perform a spacewalk.

On Sept. 29, 2011, Tiangong-1, China’s first experimental space lab, was launched into space from JSLC, which later successfully rendezvoused and docked with Shenzhou-8 and Shenzhou-9 spacecrafts respectively, thereby marking China’s capability to realize space rendezvous and docking.

On Dec. 17, 2015, China’s first dark matter detection satellite “Wukong” (Monkey King) was launched from JSLC, marking a significant step for China in the ongoing process of deep space exploration.

Workers build railways in the early stage of the center's development. (Photo/Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center)

On Aug.16, 2016, the world’s first quantum science satellite Mozi was sent into space from JSLC, representing a major breakthrough in China’s exploration of space science.

On Sept.15, 2016, China’s first space lab, Tiangong-2, was sent into space from JSLC, which signified significant progress in China’s space exploration, meaning the country would be able to realize medium-term stays in space.

Built in 1958 and located in Jiuquan City of northwest China’s Gansu Province, JSLC is the earliest of the four space mission launch sites in China. JSLC is mainly used to launch spacecrafts into medium and lower earth orbits and sun-synchronous orbits. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)

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