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Wenchang Set to Become China's Premier Commercial Space Launch Hub by Next Year
The Tianzhou 4 cargo spacecraft and a Long March-7 Y5 carrier rocket roll out for launch in South China's Hainan province.
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Wenchang Set to Become China's Premier Commercial Space Launch Hub by Next Year
by Simon Mansfield
Sydney, Australia (SPX) Nov 28, 2023

Wenchang, a city in South China's Hainan province, is rapidly establishing itself as the forefront of China's burgeoning commercial space industry. The city, known for the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site, is advancing towards becoming the nation's first dedicated hub for commercial space launches, aiming to commence regular operations by the next year. This significant development was announced at the 2023 Wenchang International Aviation and Aerospace Forum.

Liu Chong, mayor of Wenchang and director of the Wenchang International Aerospace City Administration, highlighted the city's progress in establishing vital infrastructure. Key facilities, including a rocket assembly plant and a satellite assembly and testing plant, are on track to be completed or operational by the end of this year. The satellite research and development center's main structure is completed, and the satellite remote sensing industry's comprehensive information and service platform project is slated for utilization in July next year.

Wenchang's strategic location and its status as part of the Hainan Free Trade Port significantly contribute to its emerging role in the space sector. The city's low-latitude coastal location offers optimal conditions for space launches, reducing fuel requirements and increasing payload capacities, a known advantage in rocket launches.

Further driving this transformation, Wenchang is accelerating the construction of its rocket industrial park and a combined satellite and rocket super factory. These endeavors aim to foster integration and innovation across the industrial chain. Additionally, a public platform for scientific and technological innovation is being expedited to support standardized commercial launch missions scheduled for the next year.

The economic impact of these developments is already evident. Wenchang has seen substantial growth in income, tax revenue, and fixed asset investment from January to October this year. In a significant move to bolster these efforts, a 10 billion yuan ($1.4 billion) industrial fund has been launched, targeting aerospace, new energy, and digital economy projects.

This initiative is further supported by strategic cooperation agreements with aerospace institutions and enterprises on 26 key industrial projects, totaling an investment of 4.6 billion yuan. These projects span core areas such as rocket, satellite, and data chains, emphasizing science, innovation, capital, and service chains.

Wu Zhiwei, deputy general manager of Jiangxi Jovo Group, a major player in China's clean energy and gas industry, spoke about their partnership with Wenchang's commercial space launch site. The company, focusing on providing special gases and fuel support services for launch missions, is poised to supply essentials like liquid oxygen, hydrogen, methane, and space kerosene, leveraging their capability for on-site production of liquid oxygen and hydrogen.

Wu expressed confidence in Wenchang becoming a top choice for space enterprises, citing the city's geographical advantages and favorable policies under the Hainan Free Trade Port framework.

Mayor Liu emphasized Wenchang's commitment to attracting high-end talent and promoting the aerospace industry through supportive industrial policies. The city's efforts to introduce and adjust policies are designed to encourage aerospace enterprises to establish and flourish in Wenchang, attracting high-end talent in the process.

Echoing this sentiment, Kang Yonglai, founder of Tianbing Aerospace Technology Co, noted Wenchang's unique advantages as a low-latitude coastal launch site, which become increasingly critical in the era of large commercial spacecraft launches. Kang announced that Tianbing Aerospace Technology Co would establish a rocket assembly and testing plant in Wenchang, seizing the opportunity presented by the city's ascent in the space sector.

Wenchang's evolution into a commercial space launch hub not only marks a significant milestone for China's space ambitions but also positions the city as a key player in the global space launch market. Its strategic developments, bolstered by economic incentives and technological advancements, exemplify China's growing prominence in the aerospace industry, reflective of the global trend towards the privatization and commercialization of space activities.

Related Links
Wenchang International Aerospace City
The Chinese Space Program - News, Policy and Technology
China News from SinoDaily.com

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