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31 May 2008
Satellite Launch Centers
There are three major space launch bases in China: Jiuquan, Taiyuan and Xichang. All three are located in sparsely populated areas with flat terrain and broad field of vision.
Located in the Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture of southwest China's Sichuan Province, the Xichang Satellite Launch Center is designed mainly to launch powerful thrust rockets and geostationary satellites. Known for its agreeable weather and picturesque scenes, most pictures shown on Chinese television of rockets taking off are shot here.
Established in 1970, its headquarters are located 60 kilometers northwest of Xichang City, in Sichuan Province. The ideal time for launching satellites from Xichang is from October to May.
The center was completed in 1983 and started operating the following year. Since that time it has launched China's first experimental communications satellite, first operational communications satellite, and first combined communications and broadcast satellite.
Xichang has two launch pads: one for the launch of geostationary communications satellites and meteorological satellites by Long March CZ-3 rockets and the other for the lift-off of Long March CZ-2 strap-on launch vehicle and the Long March CZ-3 series rockets.
Base 27 Xichang Satellite Launch Center
The second PRC space facility is the Xichang Satellite Launch Center (XSLC) which supports all geostationary [GEO] missions from its location in southern China. Xichang Satellite Launch Center (XSLC) is situated in Xichang, Sichuan Province, south-western China. The launch pad is at 102.0 degrees East and 28.2 degrees North. The head office of the launch center is located in Xichang City, about 65 kilometers away from the launch site. Xichang Airport is 50km from the launch site and a dedicated railway and highway lead directly to the launch site.
XSLC's state of the art facilities provide support to every phase of a satellite launch mission. The Technical Center is fully equipped for testing and integration of the payload and launch vehicle. The Mission Command and Control Center, located 7 kilometers southwest of the launch pad, is the heart of flight and safety control during overall system rehearsal and launch.
The Xichang Space Launch Center, from which US-manufactured satellites are launched, is located within a PLA military installation. Yet the US satellite manufacturer is required to maintain control over certain portions of the facilities and to make them secure during the time a US satellite and its associated documents and equipment are located there.
|China Great Wall Industry Corporation