1956: China begins developing large missiles, the first step toward establishing a space industry. 1964: First ballistics missile launch.

1970: First satellite, the ``East is Red,'' launched by a Long March 1 rocket.

1975: First recoverable satellite, launched by Long March 2C.

1981: Three satellites launched simultaneously by a FB-1 carrier rocket.

1984: First experimental geostationary communications satellite, launched into orbit with a Long March 3 rocket.

1988: First experimental meteorological satellite, launched with the Long March 4 rocket.

1990: China enters the lucrative international market of commercial launching by putting the United States-made satellite, AsiaSat 1, into orbit with a Long March 3 rocket on April 7. Beijing says this was the 27th satellite it has launched into orbit.

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