BEIJING -- China’s fourth space launch center, the Wenchang satellite launch center in South China’s Hainan province, will launch the country’s space station and cargo spacecrafts.
Tao Zhongshan, chief engineer of the Xichang launch center, told Xinhua on Oct 26 that the new center will be used mainly for geosynchronous orbiters, large-tonnage space stations, cargo spacecraft, and large polar orbit satellites.
Wenchang has an advantage for transportation of modules of such spacecraft as it is located near a seaport. The site’s low latitude will also help the carrying capacity of rockets by about 10 percent, compared to Xichang.
The Chang’e-5 moonlander, which will collect samples and return to Earth, will be launched from Wenchang, probably in 2017.
Once put into use, Wenchang, along with the three other centers in Jiuquan, Xichang and Taiyuan, will all have their different functions.
In a recent interview, Yang Liwei, China’s first astronaut and deputy chief of China’s Manned Space Agency, said the Tiangong-2 space lab will be launched around 2016, followed by the Shenzhou-11 spacecraft and Tianzhou cargo craft to rendezvous with the lab.
A core module for space station will be launched around 2018 and the station will be completed around 2022.