In 1960s, the Shaanxi Observatory was born on the demand of urgent strategic need. The state decided to build a special time service station in the hinterland of China. The older generations of the Shaanxi Observatory are self-reliant and work hard to fulfill their missions who built the Long and Short Wave Time Service SystemIt provided reliable high-precision time service guarantee for China’s economic development and space science exploration. This project won the first prize of national science and technology progress, and was praised as "China's big clock" by Mr. QIAN Xuesen.

Approved by the Central Institutional Organization Commission in March, 2001, the Shaanxi Astronomical Observatory was renamed as the National Time Service Centre(NTSC) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences , which marked that China has established its fundamental time frequency system.

In the new century, NTSC has creatively developed the China Area Positioning System (CAPS) by making use of its technologies accumulated so far in the field of time frequency. CAPS has done an excellent job in positioning and time service, meeting the urgent needs of the country and making outstanding contributions to the construction and development of China’s 2nd generation satellite navigation system. Therefore, NTSC won the special prize of National Scientific and Technological Progress Award and became an important force in the construction of BeiDou system.

In the new era, NTSC is proactive to take on heavy responsibilities and undertakes the major tasks of national major scientific and technological infrastructure, such as the construction of high-precision ground based time service system and national time and frequency system. It plays an important role in building the national space-time system.

In November 2018, President XI Jinping sent a congratulatory letter to 13th Meeting of the International Committee on Global Navigation Satellite Systems co-organized by NTSC, and layed out a blueprint for China’s comprehensive space-time system.

When China basically realizes socialist modernization in 2035, a more ubiquitous, integrated and intelligent comprehensive time and space system will show up in the world. NTSC was born for the country, works for the time, and strives for this goal.