Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site on Hainan Island is the main space launch site for China. It is one of the two spacecraft launch sites of Xichang Satellite Launch Center.
It is a former sub-orbital test center. It is China’s fourth and southernmost space vehicle launch facility (spaceport). It has been specially selected for its low latitude, which is only 19 degrees north of the equator, which will allow for a substantial increase in payload, necessary for the future manned program, space station and deep space exploration program. It is the only site currently able to launch the new heavy-lift Long March 5 booster.
The space centers on the mainland have rail tracks that are too narrow to transport the new five-meter core boosters. Wenchang uses its seaport for deliveries.
The CZ-5B (max payload to LEO) variant should fly in 2018.
The Long March 5 can carry about 25 tonnes into low orbit, roughly double the maximum load of China’s next most powerful rocket.
China hoped to launch around 30 rockets of one type or another in 2017 but only managed 18 (there were 29 launches in America and another 20 Russian.). In 2018, China plans 40-or-so launches.
There will probably be a third launch for the Long March 5. They have to fix the problem that caused the second launch to fail.
China will greatly expand the number of satellites serving BeiDou, China’s home-grown satellite navigation system.
China plans to land a robot on the far side of the moon which has not yet been explored from the lunar surface. Then a mission in 2019 will collect rocks from the lunar surface and return them to Earth.
China plans a mission to Mars in 2020.
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