China, the Communist Challenger
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The race between the United States and the Soviet Union to put the first satellite in orbit, then the first man in orbit and then the first manned Moon landing was repeated in a smaller way in eastern Asia in the late 1960s. Japan and China both strove to broadcast their status as modern industrial economies by placing a satellite in orbit. With the help of technology and assistance from the Soviet Union, China succeeded in launching its first satellite on April 24, 1970. Given the name “The East is Red 1” and broadcasting the song of the same name, it is still in orbit today due to the relatively high altitude its launcher achieved, with the high point of its elliptical orbit more than 1,200 miles (1,900 km) above Earth. However its radio stopped transmitting after about three weeks.
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