China launched its first satellite
Dong Fang Hong I (DFH I) to earth orbit on April 24, 1970, becoming the fifth
country in the world to independently launch satellite following the USSR, USA,
France and Japan. The 390-lb. electronic ball floated around the earth blaring
the patriotic song The East Is Red.
Dong Fang Hong I was sent to the space
by China's own "Long March" space rocket. The total mass of the spin stabilized
satellite was 173 kg, heavier than the weight of the Soviet Union, US, France
and Japan's first satellites added together. It took DFH I 114 minutes to
surround the earth one time. Its shape was similar to the American Telstar, a
seventy-two-face polyhedron 1 m in diameter. The satellite was spin stabilized
during its flight in space.
The successful launch of DFH I laid solid
foundation for the development of spaceflight technology in China, fueled the
emergence of the country's spaceflight industry and enabled China's technology
in this field to keep up with the world pace.