China starts construction of fourth space centre

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China
Beijing, Sep 14: China has started constructing its fourth rocket launching centre on the Hainan island in the southern part of the country in order to set up a space station in near future, a official said.

Wang Weichang, director of space station said, "The Hainan Space Launch Centre would come up near the Wenchang city in the north-east coast of the island and would be operational by 2013."

Wang said, "The new launch pad would be used for the launch of large space stations, deep space-probe satellites, synchronous satellites and would be China's first coastal launch centre located at the lowest altitude."

China's space programme is run by the military and setting up of a fourth launching station comes as Beijing also prepares for future manned space flights.

China has already put a man in space in 2003, becoming only the third nation to do so after Russia and US.

Wang also said the new launching pad located north of the equator would also allow China to get its share of international commercial space launchers.

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