Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center

Owner / Operator:
China Great Wall Industry Corporation
Ejin, Alxa, Inner Mongolia
Time zone:
1,000 m (3,280 ft)

Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center is one of China's fourth operational launch facilities and is used to launch Long March rockets.

Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center is China’s oldest launch facility. It was founded in 1958 and has since supported more launches than any of the country’s four operational launch facilities. Historic missions launched from the site include China’s first satellite, DFH-1 aboard a Long March 1 in 1970 and China’s first international payload aboard a Long March 2C in 1992.

Located approximately 2,000 kilometres west of Beijing, the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center is situated in the arid climate of the Gobi Desert. The region receives average annual temperatures of 8.5°C with a relative humidity of 25 to 55%. It is, as a result, an ideal location for year-round rocket launches.


In the 1950s, Mao Zedong was eager to match the capabilities of the Soviet and US rocket programmes. In aid of this goal, plans for the construction of the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center began in 1956.

The Gobi desert site was selected for the construction of the new facility as it offered ideal launch conditions and the existing assets of the nearby Dongfeng base. Construction on support facilities and the first launch pad was completed in 1958.

On April 24 1970, the Dong Fang Hong I, China’s first satellite was launched aboard a Long March 1, the country’s first orbital launch vehicle from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center’s LA-2A launch pad. The country’s second satellite, the Shi Jian 1 was launched from the facility a year later in March 1971.

Today, the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center features four active launch pads spread over two separate launch areas. Launch Area 2 and its LA-2A and 2B pads are utilised for Long March 2C and Long March 2D launches. The facility’s Launch Area 3 features the SLS-1 and SLS-2 pads that support launches of the Long March 4, and the crewed Long March 2F rockets.