File photo shows fishing boats sail out of the Shipu fishing port in Xiangshan County of Ningbo City, east China's Zhejiang Province. (Xinhua/Zhang Peijian)
HANGZHOU, April 15 (Xinhua) -- An international commercial space launch center with a planned investment of 20 billion yuan (about 3.06 billion U.S. dollars) will be built in Xiangshan County in Ningbo located in China's eastern coastal province of Zhejiang.
The planned commercial space launch center will include a 35-square km launch site and supporting facilities spanning 32 square km. The center is expected to launch up to 100 rockets a year, according to a draft document for key projects in Zhejiang Province during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025) released last month.
A total of 12 billion yuan will be invested during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025), the draft document noted.
The construction of the launch site will focus on building a commercial space launch field, an assembly and test center, a satellite-rocket docking center, and a ground control center. A rocket and satellite R&D and manufacturing base and an industrial base for satellite data application will be among the supporting facilities.
The commercial rocket assembly and test center is expected to be completed and undergo the project acceptance test no later than July 31.
The launch center is built to meet China's rising demand for commercial launches.
Dou Xiaoyu, vice chairman of China Aerospace Construction Group Co., Ltd., said that the domestic demand for commercial satellite launches is expected to surge in the next five to 10 years, reported China Space News.
China urgently needs to build a launch site mostly for commercial satellite launch, she noted.
In terms of the site selection, Dou suggested that the site should be located in the coastal area around 30 degrees north latitude. Besides, it should have a safe area for the falling rocket parts to land, wide launching azimuth, convenient transportation, complete industrial support, good natural conditions, and sufficient social support.
Launch azimuth is the initial launch direction, measured clockwise from zero degrees north.
A Long March-3B carrier rocket carrying the commercial telecommunication satellite APSTAR-6D blasts off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province, July 9, 2020. (Photo by Guo Wenbin/Xinhua)
China has three inland launch sites, namely the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China, the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in the north and the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the southwest.
Besides, one coastal launch site, the Wenchang Space Launch Center, is located in south China's Hainan Province.
Xiangshan County is located at a latitude close to Xichang, and the falling area of the rocket debris is almost purely the ocean. ■