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Chinese rocket companies are making further preparations for launch

With a succession of agreements, engine testing, and launch vehicle deliveries, a number of Chinese launch companies have taken moves toward achieving their objectives recently. Wenchang International Aerospace City and Beijing-centered iSpace, the very first Chinese private business to deploy a satellite into orbit, inked a collaboration framework agreement on November 8 for cooperative planning of large commercial projects.

The agreement allows iSpace to create a unit in the zone, boosting Wenchang’s attempts to create an aerospace hub. It’s also possible that iSpace may use Wenchang to launch medium as well as heavy-lift reusable launchers. The company is now working on the Hyperbola-2 and Hyperbola-3 launchers, which are fueled by methane and liquid oxygen. According to Hainan Daily, first-stage recovery might take place at the sea, with programs to build the necessary maritime infrastructure and a center for handling recovered rockets.

Wenchang is a seaside city on Hainan’s southern island, where China’s only coastal spaceport is located. The national Wenchang launch facility was approved in 2007 with the goal of allowing the deployment of new-generation big cryogenic launch vehicles, primarily for space stations as well as deep space missions.

This is the most recent step in a plan to establish Wenchang International Aerospace City as a portion of the Hainan free trade port effort and as a hub for international collaboration and exchanges. Construction on the 12-square-kilometer aerospace city project began earlier this year.

During a forum in September, both the China National Space Administration (CNSA) and the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) expressed backing for the advancement of the Wenchang International Aerospace City.

The space city government has also struck agreements with ChinaRocket Co., Ltd., a commercial subsidiary of the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT), one among China’s two primary state-possessed launch vehicle manufacturers.

Commercial launch facilities being built in Wenchang could help relieve congestion at China’s current spaceports as the country’s launch rate and the country’s burgeoning but still hazy commercial space industry continue to rise.

Taiyuan, Jiuquan and Xichang are China’s three respected inland national space launch facilities. In addition, a new commercial launch station is being developed in Ningbo, eastern China, and an eastern spaceport for the sea launches has been partially created in Haiyang, Shandong province. So far, Jiuquan is rumored to be building a complex to support the launch of new commercial methane-LOX rockets like those built by iSpace and Landspace.

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