Strategic construction

China will invest 20 billion to build the fifth rocket launch site

Seetao 2021-04-08 14:22
  • The demand for space launch business is growing, and China urgently needs to build a launch site for commercial launch
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Ningbo, a port city in eastern China, has announced ambitious plans to build China’s fifth rocket launch site. This effort is based on the long-term goal of improving space infrastructure to meet the needs of commercial missions.

On April 1, an engineering company in eastern Zhejiang Province won the bid to build a launch pad in Ningbo. According to documents published on the Ningbo Free Trade Zone website, this is part of the command center and assembly and testing facilities. As part of the Zhejiang Provincial Government’s 2021-2025 infrastructure plan, Ningbo will invest 20 billion yuan to build a rocket launch center in Xiangshan or Xiangshan area. The facility can launch 100 missions per year. The area is comparable to Cape Canaveral or the location of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. In the next 5 to 10 years, China will target a huge commercial satellite constellation, providing services ranging from high-speed Internet to airplanes to tracking coal transportation. In order to meet the launch needs, Beijing must build larger rockets that can carry more satellites, or build more launch sites, or both.

China currently has only 4 launch sites, 3 inland launch sites, and 1 in the southern part of Hainan Island. According to official media reports, by 2020, China will launch 39 missions, including an unmanned probe into Mars, and it is expected to launch more than 40 missions in 2021. China may launch more than 1,000 low-Earth orbit satellites in the next few years. Aerospace experts say that this ambition is achievable because China has a Long March 5 rocket capable of carrying 60 satellites at the same time. Editor/Xu Shengpeng