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China to launch third geostationary orbit weather satellite
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China will launch its third geostationary orbit meteorological satellite, Fengyun-2-06, in late December, according to the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) on Wednesday.

The launch was scheduled for the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the southwestern Sichuan Province and a Long March 3A rocket was expected to carry the satellite into the sky, said the CMA.

Fengyun-2-06 is designed to replace Fengyun-2C, which was launched in October 2004. Once orbital and put into operation, it would form a twin-star observation system with Fengyun-2D, which was sent into orbit in December 2006. The two satellites would also function as a backup of each other.

Earlier on Saturday, the CMA said the country planned to launch the first satellite of the Fengyun-4 series, second-generation geostationary meteorological satellites, around 2013.

CMA vice director Yu Rucong said Fengyun-4, a successor of the Fengyun-2 series, would further boost monitoring capabilities, such as the monitoring of cloud system and atmospheric temperature and humidity.

China will launch 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 October 16, 2008)

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