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China to launch space station modules

The Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, which put China’s first manned spacecraft onto the orbit early this month, is capable of launching modules of space stations in the future. Some facilities at the center as well as the propellant of the rocket might need to be upgraded however, said Yu Jianping, deputydesigner-in-chief of the launch center system and director of the Beijing Special Engineering Design Institute. The center was world-class and could be used to launch a 10-tonmodule of space station after the upgrading. Construction of the launch center began in 1993 and was completed in 1998. It assembles, tests and transports rockets and space vehicles in an upright way and through remote and automatic control.

It was of the most advanced model in the world, ensuring the efficiency and quality of rocket and spacecraft assembly and testing. The center had two upright assembly platforms and one launch pad, which allowed it to launch a space station capable of dockingby different modules in the space. The center could conduct two launches a week. All the equipment and installations at the center were designedto accommodate the launch of space stations in the future. The assembly workshop had an access, eight meters tall and eight meters wide, to allow for the future movement of a space station.