- 15 August 1935 Tsien Hsue-shen leaves China to study at MIT. More details
Tsien Hsue-shen, father of Chinese rocketry and spaceflight, leaves China on a Boxer Rebellion Scholarship to study at MIT.
- 01 September 1936 Tsien Hsue-shen enters CalTech More details
Tsien Hsue-shen, at the urging of Theodore von Karman, begins graduate studies at the California Institute of Technology. He will continue there for nearly twenty years, first as a student, finally as the Goddard Professor, becoming one of the leading rocket scientists in the United States.
- 06 June 1950 Tsien Hsue-shen accused of being a Communist. More details
FBI agents interrogate Tsien Hsue-shen on allegations that he is a Communist. The same day his security clearance is revoked, making it virtually impossible to continue meaningful work in rocketry. The allegations seem unlikely to his associates at CalTech (his wife was the daughter of one of Chiang Kai-shek's leading military strategists). Two weeks later, Tsien announces his intention to return to China. Tsien, denied the possibility to work, becomes enmeshed in a tug-of-war between differing viewpoints in the US government bureaucracy: those that want to deport him as an undesirable alien, and those that want to keep him in the country because of what he knows.
- 17 September 1955 Tsien Hsue-shen deported from the United States. More details
After five years of wrangling, and secret talks in Geneva between the Red Chinese and US governments, Tsien is deported from the United States. Upon arrival in China, he was immediately put to work as head of the Chinese missile program. He had to introduce US systems engineering approaches to Chinese engineers, and build the technical infrastructure to enable China to build rockets.
- 17 February 1956 Plan for missile development proposed. More details
Tsien Hsue-shen submits proposal to State Council for ballistic missile development.
- 26 May 1956 Fifth Academy founded. More details
Fifth Academy founded for development of ballistic missiles
- 01 June 1956 Begin construction at Jiuquan. Launch Site: Jiuquan . More details
Beginning of construction of rail lines to Jiuquan missile test site
- 13 September 1956 Russian agrees to sell China two R-1 missiles Launch Vehicle: R-1. More details
- 15 October 1957 Russia to assist China in missile development More details
Russian and China sign New Defense Technical Accord, whereby Russia will supply China with protoype atomic bomb and two R-2 missiles, and related technical data.
- 01 January 1958 R-2 missiles arrive in China. Launch Vehicle: R-2. More details
Russian hands over two R-2 missiles and technical drawings. Further 12 ordered.
- 19 September 1958 Missile development plans set. More details
Fifth Academy finalizes plan to proceed development of indigenous Dong Feng missiles (original DF-1, DF-2, DF-3 designations)
- 20 June 1959 Russia refuses to transfer atom bomb technology. More details
The Soviet CPCE advises China it will not provide prototype or drawings of atomic bombs as agreed previously.
- 15 September 1959 First missile factories built. More details
First Chinese missile production factories built: Shenyang (missile frames) Nancheng (engines).
- 23 August 1960 Break with Russia. More details
All Russian technical advisers withdrawn from China.
- 01 September 1960 First Chinese launch of Soviet R-2 missile. Launch Site: Jiuquan . Launch Vehicle: R-2. More details
- 05 November 1960 First Chinese launch of indigenous R-2 missile. Launch Site: Jiuquan . Launch Vehicle: R-2. More details
First launch of Chinese-built copy of R-2, model 1059
- 14 November 1960 DF-3 ICBM development begun. Launch Vehicle: DF-3. More details
Tsien Hsue-shen starts development of DF-3 10,000 km missile.
- 21 March 1962 First DF-2 launch attempt. Launch Site: Jiuquan . More details
First DF-2 launch. A failure. Redesigned for reduced thrust.
- 29 June 1964 First successful test of DF-2. Launch Site: Jiuquan . More details
- 12 September 1964 Chinese missiles redesignated. Launch Vehicle: DF-3. More details
DF-1 renumbered as DF-3; prior DF-3 project cancelled.
- 16 October 1964 First Chinese atomic bomb tested. More details
- 04 November 1964 Go-ahead for DF-2A. Launch Vehicle: DF-2A. More details
Decision to proceed with DF-2A extended range version of DF-2
- 27 October 1966 DF-2 tested with nuclear warhead. Launch Site: Jiuquan . Launch Vehicle: DF-2. More details
DF-2 launched with 20 kt warhead from Shaunchengtzu 800 km to Lop Nor, where warhead successfully explodes.
- 26 December 1966 First successful flight of DF-3. Launch Site: Jiuquan . Launch Vehicle: DF-3. More details
- 17 June 1967 China conducts first thermonuclear bomb test. More details
- 01 November 1969 First satellite launch attempt, CZ-1. A failure. Launch Site: Jiuquan . Launch Vehicle: CZ-1. More details
- 30 January 1970 First DF-3 test. Launch Site: Jiuquan . Launch Vehicle: DF-3. More details
First test of prototype DF-3 (perhaps same configuration as CZ-1); not deployed.
- 01 June 1976 Date uncertain. First test of DF-4. Launch Site: Jiuquan . More details
- 07 January 1979 First test of DF-5 from Wuzhai. Launch Site: Wuzhai . More details
- 15 July 1979 Second DF-5 partial range test. Launch Site: Wuzhai . More details
- 02 August 1979 Third DF-5 partial range test. Launch Site: Wuzhai . More details
- 04 September 1979 Fourth DF-5 partial range test. Launch Site: Wuzhai . More details
- 15 October 1979 Unconfirmed DF-5 test. Launch Site: Wuzhai . More details
- 15 February 1980 Last DF-5 partial range test. Launch Site: Wuzhai . More details
- 21 May 1980 Second full range DF-5 test. Launch Site: Jiuquan . More details
RV impacted 1300 km short of recovery fleet.
- 15 August 1980 First DF-4 test from Jingyu. Launch Site: Jingyu . More details
First launch from Jingyu test site.
- 15 October 1980 Second DF-4 test from Jingyu. Launch Site: Jingyu . More details
- 07 December 1981 DF-5 test from Wuzhai. Launch Site: Wuzhai . More details
- 15 October 1985 First launch of JL-1 SLBM. Partial failure? More details
- 27 September 1988 First JL-1 SLBM launch. More details
First successful JL-1 launch, impacting 123.53 deg N, 28.13 deg E.