China plans to expand its space programme with a new launch centre on the island province of Hainan in the South China Sea.
The base will boost China's launch capacity as the country expands its space programme in the build up to a planned manned landing on the moon.
Hainan is China's most southerly province and is the closest part of the country to the equator.
Launching spacecraft and satellites from close to the equator reduces the energy needed to push them into a stable orbit because the Earth's rotational speed is highest on the equator at approximately 1,050mph.
The China Daily reported that the new base, China's fourth space launch facility, will be used to "launch heavy satellites, large space stations and deep space probe satellites".
The island's distance from the mainland will reduce the risk of rocket failure disasters such as those which struck the country's main inland launch facility at Xichang in south west China in 1995 and 1996.
While the official death toll for both accidents was six, some reports claim that hundreds died in the second incident when a fully-fuelled satellite launch vehicle tipped over and careered into a town 35 seconds after launch.
Hainan, sometimes called 'China's Hawaii', is better known as a holiday resort. The island boasts long palm-fringed beaches, some lined with tourist hotels.
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