''Dongfanghong I'' (), in the western world also known as China 1 or China I, was the first space satellite of the People's Republic of China (PRC), launched successfully on 24 April 1970 as part of the PRC's Dongfanghong space satellite program. It was a part of the "Two Bombs, One Satellite" program. At , it was heavier than the first satellites of other countries. The satellite carried a radio transmitter which broadcast the ''de facto'' national anthem of the same name. The broadcast lasted for 20 days while in orbit. It was developed under the direction of Qian Xuesen (Tsien Hsue-shen), dean of the Chinese Academy of Space Technology (CAST). At the time, a total of five identical satellites were created. The first satellite launched successfully. The academy formulated a "Three-Satellite Plan" consisting of ''Dongfanghong I'', re-entry satellites, and geosynchronous orbit communications satellites. Sun Jiadong was responsible for the ''Dongfanghong I'' technology. In 1967, Dang Hongxin chose a copper antenna membrane that resolved the difficulties of broadcasting on an ultra-short wave antenna between 100 °C and −100 °C. Engineers installed a music player playing "The East is Red" on the satellite.


While ''Dongfanghong I'' was transported to the launch site by train, armed guards were placed between every two electricity poles. On 24 April 1970 at 9:35 pm, a Long March I rocket (CZ-1) lifted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, placing the ''Dongfanghong I'' satellite in orbit at 9:48 pm.


The primary purpose of the ''Dongfanghong I'' satellite was to perform tests of satellite technology and take readings of the ionosphere and atmosphere.

Satellite design

The satellite was similar in shape to a symmetrical 72-faced polyhedron, had a mass of 173 kg (381 lb), and had a diameter of approximately one meter (39 in). It spun 120 times per minute for stabilization. The outer surface was coated with a processed aluminum alloy for temperature control. The main body of the sphere had four ultrashortwave whip antennas of at least two meters (6½ ft) in length. The lower section was connected to a stage containing a rocket motor. It had a shiny metallic ring added to the bottom, with brightness magnitude from +5 to +8.


The satellite remains in orbit; as of it was in an orbit with a perigee of , an apogee of and inclination of  degrees. This near-earth elliptical orbit was 114.09 minutes per orbit. It has Satellite Catalog Number 4382 and International Designator 1970-034A. ''Dongfanghong I'' had a design life of 20 days. During that time, it transmitted telemetry data and space readings to the Earth. On 14 May, its signal stopped.


With the successful launch of ''Dongfanghong I'', China became the fifth country after the Soviet Union, United States, France, and Japan to independently launch a satellite. Although ''Dongfanghong I'' was launched 13 years after ''Sputnik I'', its mass exceeded the combined masses of the first satellites of the other four countries. After this launch, Qian Xuesen proposed to the Chinese government that China should develop a manned space program and submitted a manned space undertaking report. Mao Zedong himself signed "approved" to the report. On 21 April 2005, the Chinese Academy of Space Technology gathered the science and technology personnel who participated in the design, manufacture, production, and supervision of ''Dongfanghong I''. The birthplace of ''Dongfanghong I'', the Beijing Satellite Manufacturing Plant, was used as a monument. The manufacturing plant, in coordination with the Shenzhou 5 manned spacecraft anniversary, created a 1:1 scale replica of the ''Dongfanghong I'' satellite. It was exhibited in the Beijing Planetarium.

See also

* Two Bombs, One Satellite * Dongfanghong II * Timeline of artificial satellites and space probes


{{Orbital launches in 1970 Category:Spacecraft launched in 1970 Category:Satellites of China Category:Satellites orbiting Earth Category:1970 in China Category:First artificial satellite of a country