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China launches new geostationary weather satellite
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China launched its third geo-stationary meteorological satellite, the Fengyun-2-06, Tuesday morning.

The satellite was launched on a Long March-3A carrier rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwestern Sichuan Province at 8:54 a.m. (Beijing Time).

It entered the preset orbit 24 minutes later.

The 1,390-kilogram satellite, developed by the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology affiliated to the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, was able to acquire data from the ground, the ocean and space for the China Meteorological Administration (CMA).

Its predecessors, Fengyun-2-04 and -05, was launched in 2004 and 2006 respectively. The Fengyun-2-06 was to become a successor to boost the stability of the satellite series and would play an important role in weather forecast for China and neighboring countries and in disaster reduction, said the CMA.

It would also help enhance China's cooperation with international meteorological organizations.

The launch was the 115th 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.

(Xinhua News Agency December 23, 2008)

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