China to build first har­bor for sea launch of space rock­ets

Global Times US Edition - - TOPNEWS - By Ji Yuqiao

China plans to con­struct its first har­bor for launch­ing rock­ets from sea at a coastal city in East China’s Shan­dong Prov­ince this year, aim­ing to make maritime launches more fre­quent and sys­tem­atic, the project de­vel­oper said on Wed­nes­day.

Af­ter launch­ing a Long March-11 car­rier rocket in the Yel­low Sea off Shan­dong Prov­ince for the first time in June, a project for build­ing a har­bor es­pe­cially for space­craft sea launches was de­cided upon, ac­cord­ing to a press re­lease sent to the Global Times on Wed­nes­day by China Aerospace Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy Cor­po­ra­tion (CASC).

The cor­po­ra­tion signed a co­op­er­a­tion agree­ment with the gov­ern­ment of the coastal city of Yan­tai in Shan­dong to carry out con­struc­tion of the har­bor.

The de­vel­oper ex­plained the lo­ca­tion choice is based on the city’s out­stand­ing port con­di­tions which in­clude fac­tors like an al­ready de­vel­oped trans­porta­tion net­work and welle­quipped fa­cil­i­ties.

CASC said that it is also plan­ning to build sup­port­ing re­search cen­ters for sea launch mis­sions in Yan­tai, in­clud­ing a cen­ter to re­search and man­u­fac­ture rock­ets, a re­search and de­vel­op­ment cen­ter for sea launch plat­forms and the de­vel­op­ment cen­ter for satel­lite data ap­pli­ca­tion.

The con­struc­tion of the base will boost de­vel­op­ment of rel­e­vant in­dus­tries such as new aerospace ma­te­ri­als, en­ergy equip­ment and tourism.

Pang Zhihao, an ex­pert in space ex­plo­ration tech­nol­ogy in Bei­jing, told the Global Times Wed­nes­day that com­pared with a land launch, launch­ing a car­rier rocket from the sea has many unique ad­van­tages.

Such a launch mode was “more flex­i­ble,” as mobile offshore launch plat­forms can meet cus­tomers’ dif­fer­ent needs, Pang noted.

Pang con­tin­ued to stress that launch­ing a rocket from the sea, far from densely pop­u­lated ar­eas, can also lower the im­pact of such mis­sions on peo­ple’s ev­ery­day life and prop­erty on the ground.

The seaborne launch tech­nol­ogy meets the grow­ing de­mand for low in­cli­na­tion satel­lites and helps China pro­vide launch ser­vices for coun­tries par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, the Xinhua News Agency re­ported in June when Long March-11 was launched.

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