With the construction of a new space launch centre underway in Wenchang, Hainan Island, more details about the launch centre began to emerge on the Internet.
The Hainan Satellite Launch Centre is the fourth space launch facility in China, after Jiuquan, Taiyuan and Xichang. Construction of the launch centre began in August 2007 and will complete in 2013, with the first launch expected in 2014. Once fully operational, it will replace the existing launch centre in Xichang for geostationary orbit launch missions as well as the launch of heavy space station modules and deep space probes.
The China Aerospace Science & Technology Corporation (CASC) has recently revealed in its 2011 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report that it was developing two new launch vehicles, the solid-propellant small-lift Changzheng 11 (CZ-11), and the liquid-propellant super heavy-lift Changzheng 9 (CZ-9). This added the total number of launch vehicles currently in development to five.
China’s human space flight programme has been progressing at a rather modest pace. Twenty years since the launch of the programme, and nine years since its first manned flight mission, only four manned missions have been launched, with eight astronauts having flown in orbit. In contrast, the Soviet Union had launched 17 missions within the same time frame since its first manned flight, and the United States 22 missions, including four lunar landing missions.
Chinese press just revealed an interview by a member of the Shenzhou 9 landing search and rescue (SAR) crew, a navigator onboard one of the Army SAR helicopters http://news.163.com/12/0630/17/858VBHM40001124J.html