Oct. 12, 2005: Shenzhou-6, China’s second manned spacecraft, is sent off into space from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center with two astronauts, Nie Haisheng and Fei Junlong, on board. The two astronauts spent five days in space.
Oct. 24, 2007: China launches Chang’e-1, its first lunar probe, from the Xichang Satellite Launch Site. This makes China the fifth country in the world to develop and launch a lunar probe on its own.
Sept. 25, 2008: China’s third manned spacecraft, Shenzhou-7, launches into space from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Site with three astronauts on board, Zhai Zhigang, Liu Boming, and Jing Haiping. Zhai Zhigang becomes the first Chinese astronaut to walk in space, for 19 minutes and 35 seconds.
Oct. 1, 2010: Chang’e-2 is sent into space from the Xichang Satellite Launch Site. It took pictures of Sinus Iridium, or the Bay of Rainbows, the proposed landing site of the Chang’e-3.
Sept. 29, 2011: China launches its experimental space lab, Tiangong-1, from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Site. The main task of the Tiangong-1 was to test the technologies in rendezvous and docking between spacecraft, and to accumulate experience for developing a space station.
Nov. 1, 2011: China sends an unmanned spacecraft, Shenzhou-8, into orbit from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Site. The country successfully carried out its first rendezvous and docking exercise between two unmanned spacecraft, Shenzhou-8 and Tiangong-1.
2012: The second BeiDou system, BDS-2, was completed, providing passive positioning services to the Asia-Pacific region.
June 16, 2012: Shenzhou-9, a manned spacecraft, is sent into space from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Site with astronauts Jing Haipeng, Liu Wang, and Liu Yang on board. China successfully completed its first manned rendezvous and docking mission with Shenzhou-9 and Tiangong-1.
June 11, 2013: Shenzhou-10, a manned spacecraft, is sent into space from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Site with astronauts Nie Haisheng, Zhang Xiaoguang, and Wang Yaping on board. The astronauts spent 12 days in Tiangong-1, where they conducted space medical experiments and technical tests.
Dec. 2, 2013: China launches the Chang’e-3 probe with its first moon rover aboard from the Xichang Satellite Launch Site.
Dec. 14, 2013: Chang’e-3 lands on the moon, marking the first time that China has sent a spacecraft to soft land on the surface of an extraterrestrial body. The country becomes the third in the world to accomplish this feat.
Sept. 15, 2016: China launches Tiangong-2, an improved version of Tiangong-1 that is considered China’s first space lab into space from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Site. This is part of a broader plan to have a permanent manned space station in service.
Oct. 17, 2016: China launches the manned spacecraft Shenzhou-11 carrying two astronauts, Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong, from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Site into space. The two astronauts would stay in space for 33 days, the longest mission in the country’s manned space program to date.
Dec. 8, 2018: The Chang’e-4 probe is launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Site.
Jan. 3, 2019: The Chang’e-4 probe becomes the first spacecraft to make a soft landing on the Von Karman Crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin on the far side of the moon.
April 24, 2020: The China National Space Administration (CNSA) announces that China’s first Mars exploration mission is named “Tianwen-1”.
May 5, 2020: China’s new large carrier rocket Long March-5B makes its maiden flight from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in south China’s Hainan Province. Long March-5B is mainly used to launch the modules of China’s space station, and the successful flight inaugurated the “third step” of China’s manned space program.