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China's new weather satellite offers enhanced capability

December 14, 2016

China announced on Sunday the launch of a new-generation weather satellite.

Fengyun-4 is the first of China's second-generation weather satellites in geostationary orbit and is also the country's first quantitative remote-sensing satellite in high orbit. It will make time, spatial and spectral resolution observations of the atmosphere, clouds and space environment of China and surrounding regions.

The China Meteorological Administration will be the primary user of the satellite. According to the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, the new satellite will significantly improve the capabilities of weather and climate forecasts.

Speaking to the Global Times, Jiao Weixin, a space science professor at Peking University, explained the advantages of the new technology:

"The biggest breakthrough of the Fengyun-4 satellite is that it is three-axis stabilized, which will improve the accuracy of climate monitoring data and directly enhance weather forecasting and early warning capability," he said.

The new-generation satellite is designed with enhanced image scanning capability to help monitor small and medium scale weather systems, NASASpaceflight reported. It is equipped with vertical atmospheric sounding and microwave detection capabilities to address 3D remote sensing at high altitudes, the website said.

Fengyun-4 was launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province, and was taken into orbit by a Long March-3B carrier rocket. The launch marked the 242nd mission of China's Long March series of rockets.

China has previously launched 14 weather satellites, seven of which are still in orbit.

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