by Staff Writers
Beijing, China (XNA) Oct 30, 2009
A new satellite launch center is now under construction near Wenchang in China's southernmost island province of Hainan. Once completed, it will be the country's fourth satellite launch centre and replace the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre (XSLC) for geosynchronous orbit (GEO) and other space launch missions. Yang Yong has more.
Covering 20 square kilometers, the Wenchang Satellite Launch Centre will include a command centre, in addition to a rocket-launching site, rocket assembly plant, and a space-science theme park.
The most important part, the rocket-launching site, will be located in Longlou Town, a mountainous place 40 minutes from Wenchang. The launch tower is about 800 meters away from the seaside.
Wang Kangqiang, director of Hainan Space Program Service Bureau, says that Hainan was selected as China's fourth launch centre mainly for its geographical advantages.
"Hainan is China's closest site to the equator and affords energy saving opportunities. The lower the latitude of the launch location the greater the centrifugal force is and a launch becomes easier and less expensive. "
Compared to the existing Xichang launch centre, a GEO satellite launched from Wenchang will be able to extend its service life by two or three years as a result of the fuel saved from the shorter maneuver from the transit orbit to GEO, Wang says.
"Additionally, as the new launch centre faces the sea in south and east directions, there is no danger of debris of the used launch vehicles falling into residential areas and large rockets can be easily transported to the launch center by sea."
According to Wang Kangqiang, the new launch centre is planned to be ready by 2013 and it will mainly shoulder the launching of GEO satellites, polar orbiting satellites, large space stations and deep space exploration satellites.
Liu Chunmei, mayor of Wenchang says that a space theme park will be built near the launch center, where tourists will have a grand view of the launching process.
"With rich natural beauty, the following up space themed resources in Wenchang will draw more attention from home and abroad. And it will surely boost local tourism and economy."
China currently has three satellite launch centers located in Xichang in southwest Sichuan Province, Jiuquan in northwest Gansu Province and Taiyuan in Shanxi Province which is in the north of the country.
Source: Xinhua News Agency
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