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China plans to build homeport for seaborne rocket launch

Xinhua | Updated: 2019-08-01 15:11
A Long March 11 solid-propellant carrier rocket, with a payload of seven satellites, blasts off from a mobile launch platform off Shandong province on Wednesday. ZHU XINGXIN/CHINA DAILY

BEIJING - China plans to start the construction of a homeport for seaborne rocket launches in Yantai, east China's Shandong Province this year, according to the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC).

The project aims to make seaborne rocket launches a frequent occurrence, said CASC.

Relying on the favorable geographical location and conditions of Yantai, the project will include construction of R&D and manufacturing centers for rockets, satellite payloads and offshore launch platforms, as well as a satellite data application and development center.

The project is also expected to push forward the development of intelligent manufacturing, logistics, new aerospace materials and aerospace-themed tourism, said CASC.

China successfully launched a Long March-11 rocket from a mobile launch platform in the Yellow Sea off Shandong Province on June 5. It was China's first space launch from a sea-based platform.

The rocket was transported to the launch site from Haiyang Port in Yantai.

Launching a carrier rocket from an ocean-based platform has many advantages over a land launch. For instance, the launch site is flexible and falling rocket remains pose less danger. Using civilian ships to launch rockets at sea would lower launch costs and give it a commercial edge, according to experts.

During a recent meeting between Wu Yansheng, board chairman of CASC, and Ling Wen, vice governor of Shandong Province, Ling expressed the hope to deepen cooperation between the two sides to simplify the procedure of offshore launches to lower the cost and promote space industry development.

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