South China town aims to become int’l aerospace city

The China National Space Administration (CNSA) releases mid-flight images of Mars probe Tianwen-1 as the country's National Day coincides with the Mid-Autumn Festival on Oct. 1, 2020. (China National Space Administration /Handout via Xinhua)

HAIKOU, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) — An international forum focused on promoting the construction of an international aerospace city in south China’s island province of Hainan concluded in Haikou, the provincial capital.

Wenchang, a small city in Hainan known for its spacecraft launch center, aims to build itself into a platform for aerospace exchange and cooperation, according to the Wenchang International Aviation and Aerospace Forum held Tuesday and Wednesday.

Despite the COVID-19 epidemic, China has carried out 31 space launches successfully this year, including three with particular significance in Wenchang, Wu Yanhua, deputy director of China National Space Administration, said at the forum.

In the latest launch, a Long March-5 rocket, carrying the Chang’e-5 spacecraft, blasted off from the site early Tuesday to collect and return samples from the moon, the country’s first attempt to retrieve samples from an extraterrestrial body.

China will continue to support the aerospace industry and space economy, encourage more enterprises to invest in Hainan, construct an industrial cluster represented by high-end aerospace product research, development and manufacturing and build Wenchang into an international exchange platform, Wu said.

Representatives from embassies of countries such as Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany and Italy, as well as those from international organizations in China, attended the forum.

The Wenchang center is the fourth space launch site in China, following three others in Jiuquan, Xichang and Taiyuan, and the only launch center near the sea. It is used to dispatch satellites, large space stations and deep-space probes.

In June 2016 the center held its first launch, marking a new-generation launch site designed and built by China.