China launches 2nd geostationary orbit weather satellite Friday, December 8, 2006

China successfully launched its second geostationary orbit meteorological satellite, Fengyun-2D (FY-2D), on Friday to provide better weather forecast services for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

The FY-2D satellite was launched into the target orbit at 8:53 a.m. aboard a Long March-3A carrier rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province.

"The satellite will monitor weather changes at all the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games venues," Li Qin, chief designer of the FY-2D, told Xinhua.

"The FY-2D will provide accurate and timely information about weather changes to help us with weather forecasts during the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, especially the opening and closing ceremony and important contests," he said.

The satellite separated from the rocket about 24 minutes after lift-off and then successfully entered the geosynchronous transferorbit, according to the satellite monitoring center in Xi'an.

The 1.39-ton satellite will take up a position in the next few days at 86.5 degrees east longitude right above the equator.

The FY-2D, developed and manufactured by the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology affiliated to China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp., can observe weather changes around-the-clock. It is capable of carrying out infrared nephanalysis of the form and structure of clouds and can also analyse data about visible daytime light.

The Fengyun-2D will form a twin-star observation system with Fengyun-2C, China's first geostationary orbit weather satellite which went into orbit on Oct. 19, 2004, according to the China Meteorological Administration (CMA).

The two satellites have their own observation tasks, but can also replace each other if one of them malfunctions, the CMA said.

FY-2D will help the CMA enrich weather monitoring information from western China where cold fronts and sandstorms usually begin.

"The Fengyun-2D will expand our geostationary weather observation range and improve the forecast and monitoring of disaster weather," said Yang Jun, director of the National Satellite Meteorological Center.

China launches its second geostationary orbit meteorological satellite, Fengyun-2D, in Xichang, Sichuan Province, Dec. 8, 2006.  [Xinhua Photo]

China launches its second geostationary orbit meteorological satellite, Fengyun-2D, in Xichang, Sichuan Province, Dec. 8, 2006. [Xinhua Photo]

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Editor: Letian Pan
Source: Xinhua