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Hainan Launch Center Completes Construction for First Mission
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Hainan Launch Center Completes Construction for First Mission
by Simon Mansfield
Sydney, Australia (SPX) Jun 12, 2024

Construction of the Hainan International Commercial Aerospace Launch Center has been completed in Wenchang, Hainan province, after nearly two years of work, the center announced in a news release.

The center's second launch service tower was finished on Thursday, and engineers have started preparing it for its maiden launch mission - the debut flight of the Long March 12 carrier rocket.

Construction of the No 2 tower began in October 2022. It can service more than 10 types of liquid-propellant carrier rockets, including those in the Long March series and models developed by private companies, according to the center.

The No 1 service tower was completed in late December and is specifically tasked with servicing Long March 8 carrier rockets.

The center is a joint venture between the Hainan provincial government and three State-owned space conglomerates - China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp, and China Satellite Network Group. Construction, which started in July 2022, was undertaken by China Aerospace Construction Group.

Once operational, the complex will become the fifth ground-based launch site in China and the first dedicated to commercial space missions, generally funded by business entities, rather than government-funded programs.

The Wenchang Space Launch Center, the other launch site in Hainan, is administered by the central government and primarily serves State programs such as lunar explorations and manned spaceflights, similar to the three other centers in Jiuquan, Taiyuan, and Xichang.

Developed by the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology, a subsidiary of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, the Long March 12 will be the latest model in the Long March family and the first Chinese rocket with a diameter of 3.8 meters - wider than the 3.35-meter diameter of most Chinese rockets. It will have two stages with a combined height of more than 60 meters.

Propelled by six liquid oxygen-kerosene-fueled engines, the model will be capable of transporting spacecraft with a combined weight of at least 10 metric tons to a low-Earth orbit or six tons of satellites to a typical sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 700 kilometers, according to designers.

Related Links
China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation
The Chinese Space Program - News, Policy and Technology
China News from SinoDaily.com

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