Wenchang Satellite Launch Center (WSLC), located near Wenchang on the north-east coast of Hainan Island, is a former sub-orbital test center currently under upgrade. It is the fourth and southernmost space vehicle launch facility (spaceport) of the People's Republic of China. 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. Furthermore, it will be capable of launching the new heavy lift Long March 5 booster currently under development.
Unlike the space centers on the mainland whose rail tracks are too narrow to transport the new five meter core boosters, Wenchang will use its sea port for deliveries. Initial launches of the CZ-5 booster from Wenchang were, as of early 2008, expected in 2014, one year after the intended commissioning of the Wenchang Center.
Political considerations have postponed the construction of a large space center in Hainan many times as it was considered too vulnerable to foreign attack. Following the end of the Cold War and the easing of global tensions, new projects for its development were submitted.