Long March: More than a tough journey

Zhang Xingjian(chinadaily.com.cn) | Updated: 2016-09-04 10:37

"When we mention the word 'Long March', what first comes to mind?"

This is the question I have asked too many times in the past several months. As we all know, there are a thousand Hamlets in a thousand people's eyes. Likewise, there are many answers to this question.

Long March rocket series

Long March: More than a tough journey

A Long March 7 (CZ-7) carrier rocket blasts off from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center in Longlou town, Wenchang city in South China's Hainan province on June 25, 2016. [Photo/IC]

"As a foreigner, I have heard of the amazing tour the Chinese Red Army went through, but my deepest impression of the word is the Long March rocket series," said William Spenser, a college student majoring in Business Administration at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing.

Indeed, the rocket series is an important cultural symbol that deserves worldwide attention. China started developing modern carrier rockets in 1956, and the Long March rockets have become the main carriers for China's satellite launchings.

China launched its first satellite, Dong Fang Hong 1, or "the East is Red," into the Earth's orbit on a Long March-1 rocket on April 24, 1970, becoming the fifth nation to successfully launch one independently after the Soviet Union, the United States, France and Japan.

"It is not a coincidence that the rocket series is named 'Long March'. The rocket series' names are endowed with profound meaning and significance," said Liang Xiaohong, Secretary of Party Committee of China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology.

"At the beginning, designers fretted over the name and all were at a loss. Several days later, one major designer read a poem entitled 'The Long March' by Chairman Mao and was touched by the spirit of persistence and bravery of the Red Army. He then thought 'Long March' is the exact word for the rocket and settled the matter of the name immediately," Liang added.

In 2016, China blasted off its new generation Long March-7 carrier rocket for its maiden space flight from the new Wenchang space launch site on June 25 in South China's Hainan province. And the Long March-7 is widely expected to become the main carrier for China's future space missions.

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