BEIJING – China has plans to test launch a Long March rocket in the South China Sea soon, for commercial purposes, reported Global Times on Wednesday (Nov 8).
“If a rocket is launched closer to the equator, its carrying capacity can be higher with lower costs,” Mr Hu Haifeng, a rocket system designer from the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp (CASTC), told the Global Times.
“The South China Sea would be an option for a launch site,” said Mr Hu.
The sea-based platform is also located far from densely populated areas to reduce the risk in case of an accident, Xing Qiang, an aerospace expert was quoted by the People’s Daily as saying.
But a sea launch might also be challenging, Hu said. The sea-based launch facilities face problems like sea water corrosion and high humidity.
The Long March 6 and 11 rockets are China’s main commercial carrier vehicles and the series have been used for 60 commercial launches for domestic and international users, People’s Daily reported.
Mr Hu also noted that China has a huge market for commercial satellites, mainly for communications.
On land, China has four satellite launch centres – Jiuquan, in northwest China’s Gansu province, Taiyuan in north China’s Shanxi province, Xichang in southwest China’s Sichuan province, and Wenchang in south China’s Hainan province.