February 7, 2007

China Picks Site for Satellite Center

SHANGHAI, China (AP) - China has chosen the site for a new satellite launching center, the country's fourth, on Hainan island in the South China Sea, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Wednesday.

The site will be at Wenchang, about 38 miles southeast of the provincial capital Haikou, the report said, citing Hainan Gov. Luo Baoming.

The Wenchang Satellite Launching Center will also include a space theme scientific park, a rocket-assembling plant and a command center, Xinhua said.

China now has three satellite launching centers, in Xichang in southwestern Sichuan province; Jiuquan in the Gobi Desert in northern China, and Taiyuan, also in north China.

Wenchang will likely be the launch site for next-generation rockets due to be put into use in 2010, the report said.

Authorities in Hainan, a relatively poor province whose economy is based mainly on tourism and agriculture, lobbied the central government to chose their province as the new launch site, earlier reports said.