September.14 (China Military News cited from Xinhua) — China on Monday began construction of its new space launch center in Wenchang City, on the northeast coast of the tropical island province of Hainan, which is scheduled to be completed by 2013.
A birdview concept image of future Wenchang Space Center
A concept image of Wenchang Space Center’s Launching Pad
Workers marking the areas for future rocket assembling plants
The Hainan Space Satellite Launch Center, the fourth and the lowest latitude one in China, only 19 degrees north of the equator, would allow China to take part in more international commercial space launches, said Wang Weichang, director of the Hainan Space Center Project Headquarters.
The red area is the location of Wenchang Space center in Hainan
He said at the cornerstone laying ceremony of the center that the new launch site will be mainly used for launching synchronous satellites, heavy satellites, large space stations, and deep space probe satellites.
Background Knowledge: China’s four space launch bases
There are currently three space launch bases in China, namely, the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center and the Xichang Satellite Launch Center.
China began building its first rocket launch site in northwest China’s Jiuquan in 1958. Two years later, the country launched its first rocket.
The Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the desert of Gansu Province has become the nation’s only manned spacecraft launch center since Shenzhou-5 blasted off in October 2003.
In its latest technology update, a rocket can be assembled and tested in the vertical state and be transported along with the spacecraft vertically. The center can also be used for the launch of a space station.
Another satellite launch center built in Taiyuan, capital of north China’s Shanxi Province, launched China’s first meteorological satellite Fengyun-1A, on 7 Sept. 1988. The center, founded in March 1966 and put into normal operation in 1968, is capable of launching satellites into both medium and low orbits. It has successfully launched eight types of satellites into space, including meteorological satellites, iridium communication satellites for Motorola, and earth resources satellites.
file photo: the launch of Yaogan-V satellite from Taiyuan Launch Center
The center, hemmed in by mountains on all sides, stands at an elevation of 1,500 meters.
The Xichang Satellite Launch Center is in Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture in southwest China’s Sichuan Province. It is designed mainly to launch powerful-thrust rockets and geostationary satellites. At an average elevation of 1,500 meters, the center is known for its agreeable weather and picturesque scenery. The images of rockets launching often seen in Chinese television programs were shot there.
The Xichang center has two launch pads: one for the launch of geostationary communications satellites and meteorological satellites by Long March CZ-3 rockets and the other for the lift-off of Long March CZ-2 strap-on launch vehicle and the Long March CZ-3 series rockets. On July 16, 1990, China’s first Long March CZ- 2 strap-on launch vehicle successfully blasted off from Xichang and sent a Pakistani scientific experimental satellite and a Chinese satellite into their orbits.
The Shiyan Satellite 3 launched from Jiuquan Launch Center
These three launch sites have carried out over 100 space launches, sending over 100 satellites into space.