Beijing: China has completed construction of its most advanced space launch centre, designed to handle next generation rockets and space station modules, and it will be operational soon.
Work at the Wenchang Satellite Launch Centre in Hainan province, which is the fourth but the most advanced rocket launch centre, has been completed and would soon become operational, state-run People's Daily reported.
The centre is designed to handle next-generation rockets and space station modules, the report said.
Situated on the northeast coast of Hainan, about 60 km from Haikou, the provincial capital, the centre is China's first coastal satellite launch base.
The location is suitable for launching geosynchronous satellites, heavy satellites, large space station components and lunar and interplanetary missions.
To date, China's most widely used space facility is the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in the Gobi Desert. The other two centres are in Taiyuan, and in Xichang, Sichuan province.
Plush with billions of dollars of budget, China has one of the most advanced space programme which include Moon exploration missions, manned space missions to build a space station of its own as well as constellation of satellites to set up a Global Position System of its own.
China has demonstrated military prowess of its space technology by shooting down satellites with missiles to showcase its ability to destroy enemy satellites during times of war.
Elaborating on the importance of the new centre, Pang Zhihao, a senior researcher at the China Academy of Space Technology, said the location of the Wenchang centre suggests it will have an unparallelled advantage compared with the other three centres.
"A satellite launched from Wenchang is supposed to enable a fuel consumption saving of about 15 per cent in rockets compared with launches from the Xichang centre," Pang told People's Daily, adding that this can prolong the service life of a satellite.
Pang said the new centre will enhance the nation's deep-space exploration capability, as it is an ideal site for the launch of the Long March 5 rocket, China's most powerful, which is being developed.
The Long March 5 can be transported to the centre by sea, while the other launch centres are in inland areas, requiring transportation by rail.
Qi Faren, former chief designer of the Shenzhou spaceships, said the Long March 5 will be launched from the new centre in 2015.