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Mysterious fireballs spotted in the sky over Spain may have been caused by Chinese rocket debris

The Shenzhou-12 spacecraft is launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on June 17, 2021 in Jiuquan, Gansu Province of China, carried on the Long March-2F rocket, to China's Tiangong Space Station

The Shenzhou-12 spacecraft is launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on June 17, 2021 in Jiuquan, Gansu Province of China, carried on the Long March-2F rocket, to China’s Tiangong Space Station

July 19, 1964: China took its first official step into space by launching and salvaging an experimental biological rocket with white mice.

Apr 24, 1970: The first Chinese satellite, Dong Fang Hong 1, was launched from the Jiuquan Launch Center in northwestern Gansu province. That made China the fifth country to send satellites into orbit, after the Soviet Union, the United States, France and Japan.

Nov 26, 1975: China launched its first recoverable satellite.

Nov 20, 1999: China launched its first unmanned spacecraft, the Shenzhou-1.

October 15, 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 about 21 hours in space aboard the Shenzhou-5 spacecraft.

October 12, 2005: China sent two men on a five-day flight on its Shenzhou-6 spacecraft.

Nov 5, 2007: China’s first lunar orbiter, Chang’e-1, entered the moon’s orbit 12 days after liftoff.

September 25, 2008: China’s third manned spacecraft, Shenzhou-7, was launched into space, where an astronaut clambered out of the spacecraft for the country’s first spacewalk.

October 1, 2010: China’s second lunar exploration probe detonates from a remote corner of southwestern Sichuan province.

September 29, 2011: The Tiangong-1, or ‘Heavenly Palace 1’, China’s first space lab, was launched to conduct docking and orbit experiments.

Nov 3, 2011: China conducted its first docking exercise between two unmanned spacecraft, the Shenzhou-8 spacecraft and the Tiangong-1 module, an important test to ensure a long-term manned presence in space.

Dec 14, 2013: China landed an unmanned spacecraft on the moon in the first “soft landing” since 1976, joining the United States and the former Soviet Union in completing the feat.

September 15, 2016:China launched its second experimental space lab, the Tiangong-2, as part of a wider plan to deploy a permanently manned space station by 2022.

3 Jan. 2019: The Chang’e-4 lunar probe, launched in December, landed on the far side of the moon. Previous spacecraft have flown over the other side, but have not landed on it.

June 23, 2020: China has launched its last Beidou satellite into orbit, completing a navigation network years in the making and paving the way to challenge the US-owned Global Positioning System (GPS) .

July 23, 2020: China launched an unmanned probe to Mars in its first independent mission to another planet.

November 24, 2020: China launched an unmanned mission, the Chang’e-5, to collect lunar material to help scientists learn more about the moon’s origin.

December 1, 2020: China has landed the Chang’e-5 probe on the lunar surface.

April 29, 2021: China launched Tianhe, the first and largest of three modules of its forthcoming space station.

May 15, 2021: China became the second country after the United States to land a robotic rover on the surface of Mars.

June 17, 2021: China launched the Shenzhou-12 manned spacecraft to dock at Tianhe.

October 15, 2021: China launched the Shenzhou-13 manned spacecraft to dock at the country’s new Tiangong space station.

June 5, 2022: China launched the Shenzhou-14 manned spacecraft to dock at Tiangong.

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