China’s first man-made satellite, Dongfanghong I, was launched in 1970, starting the country’s space exploration voyage. The first unmanned spacecraft Shenzhou One was approved in 1992 and lifted off from Jiuqian satellite launching center in 1999.
After three more successful launches, the Shenzhou Five spaceship entered the predetermined orbit on October fifteenth, 2003, carrying China’s first astronaut, Yang Liwei. The craft landed after 21 hours of space flight, a milestone for China’s space industry.
The Shenzhou series went on to accomplish the second and third manned spacecraft missions in 2005 and 2008. Shenzhou Eleven, the latest Shenzhou spacecraft, will complete a docking procedure with the Tiangong 2 space lab this October.
Meanwhile, the Long March carrier rocket series, having now completed over 200 missions, will continue to serve as the launch vehicles.
China’s aerospace schedule also includes ongoing lunar explorations. This involves lunar orbiters, landers, rovers and sample return space craft. Mars exploration is also on the schedule.