China successfully launched the first recoverable remote sensing satellite on November 26, 1975. China had launched twenty-three recoverable satellites by 2006. Twenty-two were successfully recovered. Recoverable satellite is one of the most successful projects executed by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.
Chinese recoverable satellites experienced a continuously improving process. The first generation consisted of a instrument module and a return module. Its volume was 7.6 cubic meters and the operation life was three to eight days. The second generation was built based on the first generation. It had a lot of improvements, such as adding a cylinder of 1.5-meter high at the bottom. Its volume enlarged to 12.8 cubic meters and operation life extended to fifteen to twenty days. The third generation was improved from the second generation. Its volume enlarged to 14.8 cubic meters and the operation life extended to seventeen to thirty days.
China has used the recoverable satellite to do plenty of space microgravity scientific tests to gain many harvests, especially the aerospace breeding satellite launched in 2006, which promoted the development of aerospace breeding effectively.