The combination of the Tianzhou-3 cargo spacecraft and a Long March-7 Y4 carrier rocket is being transferred to the launching area of the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in south China's Hainan Province, Sept. 16, 2021. (Photo by Hu Xujie/Xinhua)
HAIKOU, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- The city of Wenchang in south China's island province of Hainan, known for its spacecraft launch center, is endeavoring to turn itself into a new engine of China's commercial aerospace.
The small city boasts the only coastal launch center in China, namely the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site, which is also the fourth launch center of the country, following three others in Jiuquan, Xichang and Taiyuan.
Since its maiden rocket launch in 2016, the Wenchang launch center has handled a number of launch missions, including the launches of the Long March-7 and Long March-5 rockets. It also witnessed the launch of China's first Mars mission "Tianwen-1" and Chang'e-5 probe.
On the basis of the launch site, Wenchang International Aerospace City was officially unveiled in June 2020 and listed as one of the 11 key industrial parks under the Hainan free trade port.
So far, more than 30 key organizations and institutes have settled down in the park, including the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology and Aerospace Information Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said Han Yong, director of the industrial park's administration.
Over the past year or so, the industrial park has seen accelerated progress, with improved infrastructure and commercial aerospace industry development.
Considering it the new engine of commercial aerospace development, Han also noted that over 350 companies involving aerospace supercomputing and satellite application have entered the industrial park.
The accelerating development of commercial aerospace is one of the major trends of the world's aerospace development, said Wu Weiren, chief designer of China's lunar exploration program, at the Wenchang International Aviation and Aerospace Forum, a three-day event that kicked off Sunday in Hainan's capital city of Haikou.
Wu said that worldwide space powers are speeding up aerospace commercialization, supporting the development of the commercial aerospace industry, and encouraging commercial aerospace enterprises to be deeply involved in national space programs.
In April, the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Commerce jointly announced measures to support the construction of Hainan free trade port and widen market access to several industries, including commercial aerospace.
Hainan will be supported in building an open international aerospace city and developing commercial aerospace industrial chains such as satellite remote sensing, BeiDou Navigation Satellite System and satellite communication among others.
A Mars probe is launched on a Long March-5 rocket from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in south China's Hainan Province, July 23, 2020. (Xinhua/Guo Cheng)
Wenchang International Aerospace City is attracting more and more commercial aerospace enterprises, said Zhang Dong, president of ChinaRocket Co., Ltd., a commercial aerospace company of China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology.
The company will participate in the development of the industrial park by commercial and market-oriented operations, Zhang added.
China National Space Administration will guide more commercial aerospace enterprises to invest in Hainan, continue to support the aerospace industry and space economy, and cooperate with the province to build Wenchang into a highland for the aerospace industry, said Wu Yanhua, deputy director of the administration, at the forum.
In the future, Wenchang International Aerospace City will build a commercial launch base and a world-class market-oriented launch site system, according to Han. ■