Status: Inactive. Birth Place: Wuhan.
Dong Xiaohai, an astronaut in the first Chinese training group of 1971-1972, was later Commander of the 18th Air Force Training Division. Joined the PLA in 1950 and subsequently trained as a pilot. On April 3, 1965, Dong had distinguished himself by shooting down an American AQM-34 unpiloted reconnaissance drone over Guangxi. This success was accomplished by changing the intercept geometry from that used before. The intercept distance was reduced from 120 to 70 km, and the altitude of intercept was accordingly increased from 13.5 km to 14.5 km. In attempting to zoom to high altitude to shoot down the drone Dong twice stalled and flamed out. On the third attempt he successfully shot down the enemy aircraft at an altitude of 18.1 km. His squadron downed two more drones and was awarded the title 'Air Force Hero Squadron' on 3 May 1965.
China approved Project 714 on July 14, 1970 to develop the Shuguang manned spacecraft, to be launched in 1973. Shuguang group selection bagan in late 1970. Initial screening resulted 88 candidates from PLA pilots. After further medical and political testing in the first half of 1971, 20 finalists were selected. One candidate did not report for training for reasons that were never divulged. The program was cancelled in late 1971.