25 June 2016

First rocket launch at Wenchang Space Launch Site

On June 25, 2016, the Wenchang Space Launch Site (文昌航天發射中心) in Hainan Province was officially put into operation, executing its first launch mission.

The new-generation carrier rocket, Long March 7, was launched for the first time, and the rocket successfully delivered the payload to its planned orbit.

The Wenchang Space Launch Site, located in Longlou Town, Wenchang City, in the northeastern part of Hainan Island, is currently China's most advanced rocket launch facility and is also China's first coastal launch site.

It was formerly a test base for suborbital rocket launches in China. The construction officially started on September 14, 2009, and it was basically completed in mid-October 2014.

Wenchang Space Launch Site is composed of a launch area, a technical area, a test collaboration area, a supporting measurement and control station area, and has two launch towers. Total area is about 18,000 acres.

Compared with China's other three major launch centres in Jiuquan, Taiyuan, and Xichang, Wenchang Space Launch Site has an advantage in maritime transportation.

Prior to its completion, China's rockets and spacecraft could only rely on land transportation. But due to the limitations of the railway tunnel size, rockets with a diameter larger than 3.5 metres could not be transported to the inland bases.

With the Wenchang Space Launch Site, transportation of larger diameter heavy rockets has become possible.

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