The Shenzhou-12 spacecraft was launched on June 17, 2021 from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Jiuquan, China’s Gansu province, carried on a Long March-2F rocket to the Chinese Tiangong Space Station.
19 July 1964: China took its first official steps into space, launching and recovering an experimental biological rocket carrying white rats.
April 24, 1970: The first Chinese satellite, Dong Fang Hong 1, was launched from the Jiuquan Launch Center in the northwestern province of Gansu. This made China the fifth country to send a satellite into orbit, after the Soviet Union, the United States, France and Japan.
26 November 1975: China launched its first recoverable satellite.
November 20, 1999: China launched its first unmanned spacecraft, Shenzhou-1.
15 October 2003: China became the third country after the United States and Russia to send a man into space with its own rocket. Astronaut Yang Liwei spent nearly 21 hours in space aboard the Shenzhou-5 spacecraft.
12 October 2005China sent two people on its Shenzhou-6 spacecraft in a five-day flight.
November 5, 2007China’s first lunar orbiter, Chang’e-1, entered lunar orbit 12 days after takeoff.
September 25, 2008China’s third manned spacecraft Shenzhou-7 was launched into space, with an astronaut exiting the spacecraft for the country’s first spaceflight.
October 1, 2010China’s second lunar exploration probe took place from a remote corner of the southwestern province of Sichuan.
September 29, 2011Tiangong-1, or ‘Heavenly Palace 1’, China’s first space laboratory, was launched to perform docking and orbiting experiments.
November 3, 2011China conducted its first docking exercise between two unmanned spacecraft, the Shenzhou-8 spacecraft and the Tiangong-1 module, a key test to achieve a long-term human presence in space.
December 14, 2013China landed an unmanned spacecraft on the Moon in the first ‘soft-landing’ since 1976, jointly achieving this feat with the United States and the former Soviet Union.
September 15, 2016China launched its second experimental space laboratory, Tiangong-2, as part of broader plans for a permanent manned space station in service around 2022.
January 3, 2019: The Chang’e-4 lunar probe launched in December touched down on the far side of the Moon. The previous spacecraft has flown away but has not landed on it.
June 23, 2020China entered orbit of its last Beidou satellite, completing years of a navigation network in building and setting the stage to challenge the US-owned Global Positioning System (GPS).
July 23, 2020China launched an unmanned probe into Mars in its first independent mission to another planet.
November 24, 2020China launched an unmanned mission, Chang’e-5, aimed at collecting lunar material to help scientists learn more about the origins of the Moon.
December 1, 2020China launched the Chang’e-5 probe on the lunar surface.
April 29, 2021China launched Tianhe, the first and largest of the three modules of its upcoming space station.
May 15, 2021China has become the second country after the US to land a robotic rover on the surface of Mars.
June 17, 2021: China launches crewed Shenzhou-12 spacecraft to dock with Tianhe.
15 October 2021China launched the crewed Shenzhou-13 spacecraft to dock with the country’s new Tiangong space station.
5 June 2022China launches Shenzhou-14 spacecraft with crew to dock with Tiangong.