China launches new weather satellite

Updated: 2010-11-05 06:59
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TAIYUAN, Shanxi - China launched a new meteorological satellite early Friday morning, from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in northern China's Shanxi province.

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A Long March-4C carrier rocket carried the satellite, the second of China's Fengyun-3 (FY-3) series, into space at 2:37 am (Beijing Time).

The satellite entered the sun-synchronous preset orbit 19 minutes later, according to data sent by the Xi'an Satellite Control Center in northwestern Shaanxi province.

After in-orbit testing, the launch center will hand over control of the satellite to the National Satellite Meteorological Center under the China Meteorological Administration.

A statement of the launch center said the satellite was equipped with a dozen advanced detectors and was able to carry out a three-dimensional, all-weather, multi-spectrum quantitative detection to acquire data from the ground surface, the ocean and space.

The satellite would form a network with the first FY-3 satellite, launched May 27, 2008, to improve China's meteorological observation and medium-range weather forecast capabilities, it said.

The FY-3 series would continue to play an important role in monitoring natural disasters and environment, and researching environment and climate change and disaster prevention and reduction.

Both the satellite and the rocket were developed by the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology affiliated to the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.

The launch was the 134th mission of China's Long March series of rockets since April 24, 1970, when a Long March-1 rocket successfully sent China's first satellite Dongfanghong-1 into the space.

China will launch a total of 12 satellites of the FY-3 series and six of the FY-4 series by 2020.