Dong Fang Hong I

Dong Fang Hong I

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Dong Fang Hong I also known as China 1, was the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

's first space satellite
Satellite
In the context of spaceflight, a satellite is an object which has been placed into orbit by human endeavour. Such objects are sometimes called artificial satellites to distinguish them from natural satellites such as the Moon....

, launched successfully on April 24, 1970 (after one fail attempt on November 16, 1969) as part of the PRC's Dong Fang Hong
Dong Fang Hong
Dong Fang Hong , meaning The East is Red, is a space satellite program for the People's Republic of China, which started in 1970. Satellites in this series were placed in either low Earth orbit or geostationary orbit and carried out a variety of purposes: testing, remote sensing,...

 space satellite program. At 173 kg (381 lb), it was heavier than the first satellites of other countries. The satellite carried a radio transmitter. It broadcast the song of the same name, Dōng Fāng Hóng or The East Is Red, which lasted for 26 days while in orbit.

Dong Fang Hong I (Red East 1) is China's first man-made satellite. It was developed under the direction of Qian Xuesen (Tsien Hsue-shen), dean at the Chinese Academy of Space Technology. 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 Dong Fang Hong I, re-entry satellites, and geosynchronous orbit
Geosynchronous orbit
A geosynchronous orbit is an orbit around the Earth with an orbital period that matches the Earth's sidereal rotation period...

 communications satellite
Communications satellite
A communications satellite is an artificial satellite stationed in space for the purpose of telecommunications...

s. Sun Jia-Dong was responsible for the Dong Fang Hong 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 Dong Fang Hong I was transported to the launch site by train, armed guards were placed between every two electricity poles. On April 24, 1970 at 9:35 pm a Long March I rocket
Long March rocket
A Long March rocket or Chang Zheng rocket as in Chinese pinyin is any rocket in a family of expendable launch systems operated by the People's Republic of China. Development and design falls under the auspices of the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology...

 (CZ-1) lifted off from the China's Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center
Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center
Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center is a People's Republic of China space vehicle launch facility .The facility is part of Dongfeng Aerospace City , and is located in the Gobi desert, Ejin Banner , Alxa League , Inner Mongolia, situated about 1,600 km from Beijing.- History :It was founded in 1958,...

 placing the Dong Fang Hong I satellite in orbit at 9:48 pm.

The primary purpose of the Dong Fang I satellite was to perform tests of satellite technology and take readings of the ionosphere and atmosphere. The satellite is 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. The perigee of its orbit was 441 kilometers and apogee was 2,386 kilometers (274 by 1,483 mi) and had an inclination of 68.55 degrees. This near-earth elliptical orbit was 114.09 minutes per orbit.

"Dong Fang Hong I" had a design life of 20 days (in actuality, it lived for 28 days). During this time, it transmitted telemetry data and space readings to the earth. On May 14 its signal stopped.

With the successful launch of "Dong Fang I", China became the fifth country after the Soviet Union, United States, France, and Japan to independently launch a satellite. Although Dong Fang I was launched 13 years after Sputnik I, its mass exceeded the combined masses of the first satellites of the other four countries. With this successful launch, China became a member of the "Space Club". After this successful 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
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

 himself signed "approved" to the report.

On April 21, 2005, the Chinese Academy of Space Technology gathered the science and technology personnel who participated in the design, manufacture, production, and supervision of Dong Fang Hong I. The birthplace of Dong Fang Hong 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 Dong Fang Hong I satellite. It was exhibited in the Beijing Planetarium.

Dong Fang Hong I has a shiny metallic ring added to the bottom, with brightness magnitude from +5 to +8. It is still in space at a higher, safer orbit at 431 to 2,124 km, as object 4392 in the log of US Space Command.