Wenchang Space Launch Site

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Coordinates: 19°36′52″N 110°57′04″E / 19.614354°N 110.951057°E / 19.614354; 110.951057

Wenchang Space Launch Site
Tianwen-1 launch 04 (cropped).jpg
Tianwen-1 launch from Launch Complex 1
LocationWenchang, Hainan, China
Coordinates19°36′52.17″N 110°57′4.08″E / 19.6144917°N 110.9511333°E / 19.6144917; 110.9511333
Total launches15
Launch pad(s)Two
Launch Complex 1 launch history
First launch03 November 2016
Long March 5
Last launch29 April 2021
Long March 5B / Tianhe
Long March 5
Long March 5B
Launch Complex 2 launch history
First launch25 June 2016
Long March 7 / YZ-1A
Last launch23 December 2021
Long March 7A / Shiyan-12
Long March 7
Long March 7A
Long March 8
Wenchang Space Launch Site
Simplified Chinese文昌航天发射场
Traditional Chinese文昌航天發射場

The Wenchang Space Launch Site (Chinese: 文昌航天发射场[1][2]), located in Wenchang, Hainan, China, is a rocket launch site — one of the two spacecraft launch sites of Xichang Satellite Launch Center (the other site is in Xichang, Sichuan).[3][4][5]

It is a former suborbital 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° north of the equator, which will allow for an increase in payload necessary for launching China's future space station. It is capable of launching the Long March 5, currently the most powerful Chinese rocket.[6]

Unlike the space centers on the mainland whose rail tracks are too narrow to transport the new five meter core boosters, Wenchang uses 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 Launch Site.[7] The first launch of CZ-5 was later shifted to 2016,[8] and took place on 3 November 2016. The CZ-5B (max payload to LEO) variant was expected to fly around 2018[9] but the maiden flight took place 5 May 2020. A CZ-5 carrier rocket was already shipped from North China's Tianjin port at 20 September 2015 for a rehearsal (some drills carried out on the launch pad that involves both the carrier rocket and a probe) of a scheduled Chang'e-5 lunar mission, which was planned for around 2019.[10] Chang'e 5 was successfully launched on 23 November 2020.

The construction of the site was completed by October 2014.[11] The first launch took place successfully at 20:00, 25 June 2016.[12]

Planning and construction[edit]

Political considerations had 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.

According to a report by China Central Television (CCTV),[13] the construction of the new Wenchang Satellite Launch Center was officially approved by the State Council and the Central Military Commission of the People's Republic of China on 22 September 2007.

In late October 2007, the Mayor of Wenchang announced that 1,200 hectares (3,000 acres) of land would be obtained for the center and more than 6,000 people, mostly from the villages of Longlou (龙楼, 19°39′07″N 110°57′47″E / 19.652°N 110.963°E / 19.652; 110.963 (Longlou village)) and Dongjiao (东郊, 19°34′01″N 110°52′01″E / 19.567°N 110.867°E / 19.567; 110.867 (Dongjiao village)) would be relocated as a consequence.[14]

A subsequent article in November 2007 indicated that the actual launch site would be near Longlou, while a space-science theme park would be built near Dongjiao.[15] Satellite photography of April 2011 shows a new clearing 19°36′50″N 110°57′05″E / 19.6139°N 110.9513°E / 19.6139; 110.9513 (Possible new site of launch facility) near the beach that is consistent with artist's concept pictures of the CZ-5 launch pad that have been displayed in China.

Launch pads[edit]

A total of three launch pads are planned.

One of the launch pads is designed for a CZ-5 service structure and launch gantry.[16]

Another launch pad made for the CZ-7 service structure and launch gantry.[17]

Launch history[edit]

The Long March 5 Y2 being transported from assembly building to 101 launch site.

The first launch was a Long March 7 which took place successfully at 20:00, 25 June 2016. It was scheduled to lift off at 19:30 but was delayed half an hour.[12]

On 3 November 2016, Long March 5 rocket made its maiden flight from the launch site.[18]

A Long March 5 launched 2 July 2017 failed to complete its mission to put a seven-tonne Shijian-18 communications satellite into orbit approximately 1 hour after lift off at 11:23 UTC. Adding propellant started on 1 June 2017. The rocket had arrived at the base in early May where it was assembled and tested. The launch was broadcast live on television.[19][20]

The third flight of Long March 5 occurred on 27 December 2019 from Wenchang LC-1.

The maiden flight of Long March 5B variant took place on 5 May 2020 from Wenchang LC-1.

On 23 July 2020, the fourth flight of Long March 5 put China's first indigenous Mars orbiter/rover Tianwen-1 directly into TMI from Wenchang.[21]

The maiden flight of Long March 8 occurred on 22 December 2020 from Wenchang LC-2.

On 29 April 2021 the core module Tianhe of the China Space Station was successfully launched aboard a Long March 5B rocket from Wenchang LC-1.[22]

On 29 May 2021, a cargo resupply ship named Tianzhou-2 launched on a Long March 7 (Y3) rocket from LC-2 to rendezvous with the China Space Station as preparation for the upcoming Shenzhou-12 crewed mission. [23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ ""中国文昌航天发射场"获命名,基本满足卫星发射各种要求_中国政库_澎湃新闻-The Paper". www.thepaper.cn.
  2. ^ "Moto Z | 海南文昌现场直击:长征五号发射!_专题_凤凰网". v.ifeng.com.
  3. ^ "西昌卫星发射中心40载建功中国航天纪实" (in Chinese). 中国新闻网. 5 January 2001. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  4. ^ "驰骋两场打胜仗——记西昌卫星发射中心党委统领两个发射场建设" (in Chinese). 新华网. 30 June 2016. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  5. ^ "盘点西昌卫星发射中心对外航天发射" (in Chinese). 中华人民共和国国防部. 21 November 2015. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  6. ^ "Hainan showcases model of Wenchang Space Center (海南首次展出文昌航天发射场设计模型图)" (in Chinese). China Picture Network (中国新闻图片网). 29 April 2008. Archived from the original on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
  7. ^ "China's New Carrier Rocket To Debut In 2014". www.spacedaily.com.
  8. ^ "Long March 5". Integrated Space Analytics. 19 July 2015. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  9. ^ "Chang Zheng-5 (Long March-5) – SinoDefence". Sinodefence.com. Archived from the original on 3 July 2015. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  10. ^ "China to rehearse new carrier rocket for lunar mission - Xinhua | English.news.cn". News.xinhuanet.com. 20 September 2015. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  11. ^ Smith, Marcia (20 October 2014). "China's new Wenchang space launch site ready for action". spacepolicyonline.com. Retrieved 23 November 2020.
  12. ^ a b "Next-gen Long March rocket takes record-breaking flight[1]|chinadaily.com.cn". usa.chinadaily.com.cn.
  13. ^ "China to construct the new Wenchang Satellite Launch Center (中国将在海南省文昌市建设新的航天发射场)" (in Chinese). Sohu. 22 September 2007. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
  14. ^ "Six Thousand People to be Resettled to Make Way for New Space Launch Center". 29 October 2010. Archived from the original on 27 March 2012. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
  15. ^ "China Completes Enclosure Of Land For Fourth Satellite Launch Center". www.spacedaily.com.
  16. ^ David, Leonard (2 April 2014). "China's New Spaceport to Launch Country's Largest Rocket Yet". Space.com. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  17. ^ "More details on the Hainan Space Centre emerging – SinoDefence". Sinodefence.com. 11 July 2012. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  18. ^ "Spaceflightnow launch schedule". Spaceflightnow. Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  19. ^ "China to launch 2nd heavy-lift carrier rocket - People's Daily Online". en.people.cn.
  20. ^ "Chinese rocket fails after lift-off". BBC News.
  21. ^ Roston, Michael; Myers, Steven Lee (22 July 2020). "China's Mars Mission, Tianwen-1, Begins Its Monthslong Journey" – via NYTimes.com.
  22. ^ Jones, Andrew (29 April 2021). "China launches Tianhe space station core module into orbit". SpaceNews. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  23. ^ Wall, Mike (29 May 2021). "China launches new cargo ship to Tianhe space station module". Space.com. Retrieved 5 June 2021.

External links[edit]

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