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Seventh Ministry of Machine Building
Ministry of Astronautics Industry

Work on rockets started in 1956 at Military Academy 5, which became Ministry 7 in 1964, MOA [Ministry of Aerospace Industry], then CASC [China Aerospace Corporation] in 1993.

In 1958, production of the Russian R-2 missile (Project 1059) commenced at Academy 1, which later became the BWYIC [Beijing Wan Yuan Industry Corp.], then the CALT [Chinese Academy of Launch-Vehicle Technology]. Concurrently, the Academy of Sciences drew up a scientific-satellite program (Project 581), and started work on the realization of meteorological rockets in a Shanghai institute SDIME [Shanghai Development Institute of Meteorology].

As early as 1959, Vice Premier Nie Ronzhen had predicted that in order to develop high technologies in this country, China must first develop capabilities in new raw materials, electronic components, instruments and gauges, precision machineries. large-structure facilities, and testing and measurement techniques. For this reason,.he made the suggestion of organizing a nation-wide cooperative effort to develop new materials, new components and new facilities; this suggestion was approved and supported by the Central Committee and Chairman Mao Zedong.

Then, a unified plan across the nation was established to meet the requirements of missile and rocket development, and various research and development tasks were assigned: the task of developing new rocket fuels and sealing materials was assigned to the chemical engineering department; the task of developing high-temperature materials, light metal alloys, electronic components, and electric vacuum devices was assigned to the metallurgical department, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the electronic engineering department; the task of developing precision bearings, precision machineries, special-purpose vehicles and launch facilities was assigned to the mechanical engineering department; and the task of developing non-metallic special materials was assigned to the construction material department.

Thus, the development of high technologies in the defense industry also stimulated efforts in the basic research of new materials and new techniques, and raised the technical standards of those departments^which contributed to the overall economic growth of China. The development of China's materials industry, electronic industry and precision^machinery and instrument industry not only filled the void in many fields but also contributed to the establishment of a cooperative network to support the development of high technologies and to provide the material and technical basis for developing China's own capability in missile and space technology.

At the time when China was ready to design its own liquid-propellant rocket, there was a movement emphasizing the importance of basic research, and many basic research projects were planned. During the early 1960's, in order to meet the needs of developing intermediate-range missiles, intensive research activities were initiated in such areas as liquid-propellant rocket engines, rocket structures, on-board computers, inertial devices, serving remote-sensing technologies, ground equipment aerodynamics, environmental testing, materials technology, test measurement, and electronic components, the important breakthroughs in many key technology areas led to a solid foundation for new missile development. To carry out the large number of research program, the No 5 Institute was joined by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the various engineering departments, the higher institutions and the local research organizations.

The first R-2 (or DF-1) launch took place on 5 November 1960 from the Jiuquan base. In 1961, Shanghai Bureau 2 began production of tactical missiles. Bureau 2 later became SHBOA [Shanghai Bureau of Astronautics], then SAST [Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology].

In December 1964, a resolution was passed during the first meeting of the Third People's Congress to establish the Seventh Ministry of Machine Building. This new ministry was formed by using the No 5 Institute of the Ministry of Defense as a core, and by consolidating several factories and offices from the Third, Fourth and Fifth Ministries of Machine Building as well as from other departments and preovincial and municipal governments. It was charged with the responsibility of managing the research, design manufacturing, production and basic development of the missile and rocke industry. In January 1965, Chairman Liu Shaoqi appointed Wang Bingzhang to be the director of the Seventh Ministry of Machine Building.

In 1965, Ministry 7 took over Academy 1 for long-range rockets (CALT), Academy 2 for ground-to-air missiles (CCF [China Chang Feng]), Academy 3 for cruise missiles (CHETA [China Haiying Electromechanical Technology Academy]), and Academy 4 for solid-fuel motors (ARMT [Academy of Rocket Motors Technology]), as well as the Shanghai Tactical Missiles Bureau and Meteorological Rockets Institute.

With the establishment of the Seventh Ministry of Machine Building, the development of China's missile and rocket technology entered a new era where major changes in organizational systems took place, the scope of development was expanded, and the conditions for research and development were improved. The expanded research and development activities included: multiple missile models, full-scale development of both strategic and tactical missiles, solid-propellant rockets as well as liquid-propellant rockets, and medium-range, intermediate-range and intercontinental rockets.

The basic research projects initiated during the early 1960's began to bear fruit in terms of enhanced technical capabilities for developing new missile models. In addition, the design experience and organization and management experience acquired in developing short- and medium-range missiles created favorable conditions for accelerated development of missile and rocket technology.

Under these circumstances, the well-known scientists Qian Xuesen and Zhao Jiuzhang who had proposing the development of artificial satellites each submitted a written statement to the Central Government suggesting that development of China's space technology should be accelerated. In May 1966, an agreement was reached between officials of the Defense Technology Commission, the Chinese Aeademy of Sciences and the Seventh Ministry of Machine Building to develop China's first artificial satellite which will be named "East Is Red 1"; the carrier rocket will be named "Long March 1." They planned to launch the first satellite in 1970.

For historical reasons, the development tasks of China's first satellite were scattered among the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Seventh Ministry of Machine Building , thus creating a very difficult problem in organization and coordination. To rectify this situation, the Chinese Space Technology Research Institute was established on 22 February 1968; its charter was to participate in the planning of China's space development, to verify the technical performance of spacecraft, and to carry out the research, design, production and testing of spacecraft, as well as to coordinate the operations of carrier rockets, launch facilities and ground command and control. In July 1973, it was officially merged into the Seventh Ministry of Machine Building .

The China Great Wall Industrial Corporation was set up by the Ministry of Astronautics Industry, which was responsible for space launch services. The China Aerospace Corporation [CASC] was established in 1993, incorporating the No.5 Research Academy of the Ministry of National Defense, the Seventh Mininstry of Machine Building Industry, the Ministry of Astronautics Industry and the Ministry of Aerospace Industry.


1. The No. 5 Research Academy under the Ministry of National Defense Period (Oct. 1956 — Nov. 1964)

On October 8, 1956, China established its first missile research institution — the No. 5 Research Academy under the Ministry of National Defense. Qian Xuesen, Liu Yalou and Wang Bingzhang took office as director of the Academy in succession.

2. The Seventh Ministry of Machine Building Industry Period (Nov. 1964 — April 1982)

On December 26, 1964, the First Session of the Third National People's Congress decided to set up the Seventh Ministry of Machine Building Industry. Wang Bingzhang, Wang Yang, Song Renqiong and Zheng Tianxiang served as Ministers one after another.

3. The Ministry of Space Industry Period (April 1982 — July 1988)

The Seventh Ministry of Machine Building Industry was renamed the Ministry of Astronautics Industry on March 8, 1982 at the 22nd Session of the Fifth National People's Congress Standing Committee. Zhang Jun and Li Xu'e held the post of minister in succession.

4. The Ministry of Aerospace Industry Period (July 1988 — June 1993)

On April 9,1988, the First Session of the Seventh National People's Congress decided to set up the Ministry of Aerospace Industry, abolishing the former Ministry of Astronautics Industry and the Ministry of Aeronautics Industry. Lin Zongtang was appointed minister of the new Ministry.

5. The China Aerospace Corporation Period (June 1993 — July 1999)

On March 22, 1993, the First Session of the Eighth National People's Congress decided to abolish the former Ministry of Aerospace Industry and establish China Aviation Industry Corporation and China Aerospace Corporation (China National Space Administration). In June 1993, China Aerospace Corporation (China National Space Administration) was formally founded and Liu Jiyuan was selected as president (administrator).

6. The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation Period (July 1999 —)

With the approval of the State Council, China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) was established on July 1, 1999, and Wang Liheng was appointed president of CASC. Zhang Qingwei took the position in December, 2001. In August 2007, the State Council appointed Ma Xingrui to succeed Zhang as the new head of CASC.

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Page last modified: 11-05-2014 18:50:13 ZULU