Metp Special

Launch pad planned for Hainan

By Wu Jiao (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-03-07 06:59
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China will build its fourth satellite launch base in its southernmost island province of Hainan.

Currently, China has three satellite launch centers: Xichang in southwest Sichuan Province, Jiuquan in northwest Gansu Province and Taiyuan in the northern Shanxi Province.

Wei Liucheng, Party Secretary of Hainan told China Daily yesterday Hainan Province was waiting for the central government to give the green light to commence the project.

Wei is attending the current session of the National People's Congress.

Launch pad planned for Hainan

Wei Liucheng answers questions from reporters in Beijing yesterday.Yang Shizhong

The feasibility research on the center started in 2002 and the long-awaited plan will be ready soon, Luo Baoming, Hainan Province's governor, said.

Earlier, Xinhua reported that the site of the new satellite launch center will be in Wenchang, about 60 kilometers from provincial capital Haikou.

The proposed Wenchang Satellite Launching Center will cover an area of 20 square kilometres, featuring a space launching port, a space theme scientific park, rocket assembly plant, rocket launching base, and the command center.

Wei also said yesterday that the new satellite launch base would not use contaminating, poisonous or nuclear fuel.

China has scheduled to put its new-generation rocket into use by 2010. Experts earlier estimated that the Wenchang satellite base would likely serve as the launching base for the new rockets.

Long Lehao, an expert in carrier rockets and member of Chinese Academy of Engineering, said Hainan was chosen mainly for its "geographical advantages".

"Hainan is China's closest site to the equator, so much energy could be saved if a satellite base is built in the place," Long was quoted by Xinhua as saying.

During yesterday's meeting, Wei also revealed that the province was discussing with the central government to build a facility for strategic crude oil stockpile. He didn't give the size of the stockpile.

"Hainan faces the Southeast Asia at the back of the southern China provinces, which are big energy consumers," he said.

"With its ideal geographical location, and strong port capacity, it will be a rational decision to locate such a stockpile in Hainan."

The province is in discussion with local and foreign oil companies, Wang said.

China decided in 2003 to build strategic oil stockpiles to curb possible shortages in the future.

Phase one: the first four strategic oil stockpiles, are being built in Zhenhai and Zhoushan in Zhejiang Province, Huangdao in Shandong Province, and Dalian in Liaoning Province.

With a total capacity of 16.2 million cubic meters, the first phase project is expected to be finished by 2008.

A total capacity of 28 million tons is planned for the second phase project.

Possible sites include: Hainan Island, and Zhanjiang and Maoming in Guangdong Province.

Apart from the satellite and oil projects, Wei said Hainan was also preparing to build a nuclear electric power plant.

The province is also negotiating with several power and oil giants to promote wind and solar power, Wei said.

(China Daily 03/07/2007 page5)