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China's space program

A Reuters report (3/7/03) titled "Chinese push for Hainan space port" tells us:"A group of Chinese MPs is pushing for a new satellite launch center on the southern island of Hainan to cut costs and boost the local economy, the official China Daily said on Wednesday. The newspaper said it was "just a matter of time" before a satellite launch center was built on Hainan off the southern coast. It did not give a timetable. The nearer to the Equator a rocket is launched, the bigger the slingshot effect from the spinning Earth, making the launch more cost-effective. "We have extensively studied the feasibility of such a project - including locating a launching site and researching its geological and meteorological conditions," Hainan vice governor Liu Qi, also a member of parliament, said. "We are expecting to meet this week with related departments to further discuss the project," said Liu, who is attending parliament's two-week annual session in Beijing. Zhang Qingwei, president of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, confirmed Liu's remarks, the newspaper said. China has launched commercial satellites for US and Brazilian operators and is vying for a bigger slice of the lucrative market. China sent four unmanned test capsules into orbit between November 1999 and January 2003 and aims to put an astronaut into space on a homemade rocket".

RH: Hainan is at latitude 20, whereas French Guiana is close to the Equator, which passes through northern Brazil, an ideal spot to place a spaceport. Brazil used a Chinese spaceport through some unpublicized deal. Does any WAISer want to volunteer to go into space on a Chinese homemade rocket?

Ronald Hilton - 3/7/03