BEIJING ? China broke ground on its fourth space center Monday, highlighting the country’s soaring space ambitions six years after it sent its first man into orbit.
The space port on the southern island province of Hainan incorporates a launch site and mission control center for slinging the country’s massive new rockets into space carrying satellites and components for a future space station and deep space exploration.
The reports portrayed the center as a major stride forward for China’s military-backed space program, which has launched three manned missions since 2003, including one last year that featured the country’s first space walk.
China’s future space ambitions include building an orbiting station and sending a mission to the moon, putting it in the forefront of the tightening Asian space race involving India, Japan and South Korea. China says its space program is purely for peaceful ends, although its military background and Beijing’s development of anti-satellite weapons have prompted some to question that.