China is likely to launch a new polar-orbiting meteorological satellite, Fengyun-3 (FY-3), this autumn to improve its global weather monitoring capacity, the China News Service reported.
The satellite, which is developed and manufactured by the Shanghai Aerospace Administration, is China's second generation of solar-synchronous weather satellite.
The FY-3 weighed more than 2.4 tons, triple the weight of FY-1 satellite, Gao Huoshan, general director of the FY-3 research team, was quoted as saying.
The new satellite was equipped with 11 monitoring devices, which were far more sensitive than those of the FY-1, China's first generation of solar-synchronous satellite, Gao said.
He said the satellite would be able to detect meteorological changes more accurately and send back high-resolution images.
Once launched, the FY-3 would do a complete polar orbit every 102 minutes. It would replace the FY-1D, which was launched in May 2002, and form a twin-star observation system with the FY-2D.
The FY-2D, a geostationary orbit meteorological satellite, was launched on December 8, 2006, to provide better weather forecast services for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
The FY-3 can observe global meteorological and environmental changes around the clock and will be used for weather forecasting and disaster prevention.
The China Meteorological Administration has announced earlier that China will launch another 22 meteorological satellites by 2020, including four more from the Fengyun-2 series, 12 from the Fengyun-3 series and six from Fengyun-4 series.
(Xinhua News Agency January 29, 2007)