Beijing Space City is a space centre for human space flight training, R&D, and flight control. Built in the late 1990s to support China’s manned space programme Project 921, the centre is a large campus covering 2.3 km2 (577 acres) of land in Tangjialing in the northwest suburb of Beijing. It is the home to Beijing Aerospace Control Centre (BACC), Astronaut Centre of China (ACC), as well as the head office and R&D facilities of China Academy of Space Technology (CAST).
Previously CAST had its head office, the various subordinate research institutes and the satellite fabrication factory located on Zhichun Road and the Zhongguancun area in Beijing, and the thermal vacuum chamber testing facilities in the suburb county of Changping. The satellite built in the factory must be transported by road to the testing facility some 40 km away from the city centre. The journeys between the different sites were both time consuming and damaging to the highly fragile instruments onboard the satellite.
In 2000, CAST relocated its head office and the spacecraft assembly and testing facilities to the newly built Beijing Space City. This allowed the spacecraft to be assembled and tested at a single location before being delivered to the launch site. Facilities constructed in the centre during the first phase of the construction project included spacecraft assembly, integration and test (AIT) buildings, wind tunnels, thermal vacuum chambers (TVC), and lunar surface simulation facility. The Shenzhou manned spacecraft, the Tiangong space laboratory, and the Chang’e lunar probes were all built and tested here.
Beijing Space City was expanded in 2010 with the addition of two dozens of new buildings in a separate campus located nearby (Space City II). This allowed CAST to relocate its other subordinate entities for spacecraft R&D and manufacturing previously located across Beijing and other cities. Newly added facilities include a rendezvous docking laboratory, a composite materials manufacturing centre, a precision machinery workshop, a spacecraft components testing laboratory and satellite ATI buildings.