Tuesday, October 30, 2007

China to Build its New Satellite Launch Center in Hainan

Chinese Governmental Xinhua News Agency on September 22 announced that China will build a new Satellite launch center in Wenchang City, Hainan province. The Wenchang Launch center is China's 4th Rocket Launch center after Jiuquan Launch Center, Xichang Launch Center and Taiyuan Launch Center. Wenchang Launch center will be finished in China's "12th-five-year-plan" and to be in service in about 2012.

Although Wenchang Launch center is affirmative in Chinese central government and CPC Central military Commission, China still hold 3 main launch bases in future. Xichang Launch center will play back-up role in China's space power and be merged into Wenchang Launch Center, and main Staff and experts in Xichang will be transferred to Wenchang Center, which will replace Xichang to be the main commercial launching center. Obviously, Wenchang's Geographic advantages will certainly increase China's competence in global commercial launch market.

The exact location of Wenchang Launching Center is in Longlou and Dongjiao Counties of Wenchang city's east direction. In 2004, Hainan province once advised to establish new base in Changsi county, which is north-east of Wenchang city.

Xinhua News did not provide the precise location of Wenchang Center, but Chinese resources showed that the new launch center is on the east coast of Hainan Island, not expanded from a former missile test base, which is now often mistakenly cited and located in the heart of the Island.

One launching facility is called as "Launching Pad I 2k1" and located in the West Diyuan village (19°37'10.59"N 110°56'51.76"E), another one is "Launching Pad II 2k2" and in Wuhu Village(19°37'31.25"N 110°57'13.91"E). Just being a neighbor of Longlou county, Dongjiao's some villages will be moved to other places for constructing "Residence District for Staff and Experts"

The new Wenchang center will utilize its low latitude advantage to raise Chinese rocket's payload and then extend satellite's life for less orbit maneuver. Generally, Wenchang Center will primarily used to launch GTO satellite, polar orbit satellite, space station cell and deep-space exploration satellite. Since China's CZ-5 rocket will use recyclable engine for its first stage rocket, so Wenchang, which is near southern China Sea, is proper for CZ-5 family.

Now CZ-5 is still in development, and its 1,200 kN thrust LOX/kerosene engine in September just successfully passed its 78th full-engine hot-fire test. And the accumulated test time is up to 13500 seconds.
Besides, Chinese official media also indicate that its pre-developing Aerospace vehicle will initiate in Wenchang launch center.

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