Dongfanghong program

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"Dong Fang Hong" redirects here. For other uses, see Dong Fang Hong (disambiguation).

Dongfanghong (Chinese: 东方红; pinyin: Dōngfāng Hóng; literally: "The East is Red") was a space satellite program for the People's Republic of China. This program started in August 1965 as Project 651, a less ambitious successor of the earlier Project 581, set goal to launch a satellite that is heavier than Sputnik 1 and Explorer 1 into space, and developed the necessary technologies to do so. [1]


In 1958, Chinese Academy of Science proposed Project 581 which included a plan to launch a satellite into space before 1 October 1959. The project was troubled due to the lack of knowledge on rocketry. On 21 January 1959, Zhang Jingfu, who was in charge in the satellite research, postponed the research, allowing effort to be put on developing basic technologies. In December 1964, the during 3rd National People's Congress, Zhao Jiuzhang suggested to resume the work on satellites. On August 1968, the Central Special Committee approved Chinese Academy of Science's plan, which later became Project 651. [1]

In June 1965, Central Special Committee made the decision of researching a launch vehicle. As per the request of Commission for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (COSTIND), the vehicle's first stage and second stage would be based on a long range missile. A solid-fueled third stage was added to the design. [2]

In 24 April 1970, Dong Fang Hong 1 was launched. After reaching orbit, it transmitted The East is Red for 28 days. [1]

Effect on the name of the Soviet Salyut programme[edit]

According to Boris Chertok's memoirs, when the first Soviet space station, Salyut 1, was under construction, its designated name was "Zarya" (which means "Dawn", in Russian). When the Soviets realized that the Chinese have a space program with a similar name ("Dongfanghong" was also rendered as Zarya into Russian), they renamed their space station to "Salyut" ("Firework"), to avoid confusion.[3]


  1. ^ a b c Zhao, Zhuqing, ed. (14 April 2010). "“东方红一号”中国第一颗人造卫星诞生内幕" [Dongfanghong-1: The inside story of China's first satellite]. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  2. ^ Xie, Guangyuan (9 November 2007). Zhang, Wenjun, ed. "长征一号的研制历程" [The development of Long March-1]. 
  3. ^ Boris Chertok, Rockets and People, Volume 4: The Moon Race. Chapter 14 in the Russian edition.

See also[edit]