China's second national civil aerospace industrial base broke ground in Xi'an, capital of northwestern Shaanxi Province, on Tuesday.
The National Civil Aerospace Industrial Base of Xi'an signed an agreement with the Xi'an branch of the China Academy of Space Technology, a major developer of the country's spacecraft and satellite application, to launch the research center.
Zhang Xiaoqiang, the National Development and Reform Commission deputy director, said Xi'an was one of the country's aerospace hubs with more than 200 aerospace research centers and enterprises in the city.
Zhao Hongzhuan, the base director, said the new facility would attract more renowned aerospace companies and research institutes to develop there in the near future. "We will build it into a world-class aerospace base."
The base, set to cover 1.7 square kilometers in the first phase and expand to 6 sq km in future, will focus on developing satellites, new materials, energies, IT and other technologies for the benefit of civil application.
It is expected to realize an output of 20 billion yuan (2.7 billion U.S.S. dollars) in 2012 with a number of competitive enterprises and a burgeoning technological innovation system.
The initiative was approved by the National Development and Reform Commission on December 26 following the launch of the Shanghai National Civil Aerospace Industrial Base four days earlier.
The Shanghai center, now under construction, includes a research and development center, an industrialization base and a scientific park. It will jointly promote the growth of the civil aerospace business, technological innovation and the application of such technologies.
(Xinhua News Agency April 9, 2008)