Satel­lite to im­prove weather fore­casts

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By ZHOU WENTING in Shang­hai zhouwent­ing@ chi­

China will launch its lat­est in­de­pen­dently de­vel­oped weather satel­lite at the end of this year, which is said to be tech­ni­cally com­pa­ra­ble to sim­i­lar satel­lites be­ing built in Europe and theUnited States.

The FY 4 satel­lite, the coun­try’s sec­ond gen­er­a­tion of weather satel­lites and also the new­est member of its Fengyun se­ries, will be launched into geo­sta­tion­ary or­bit 36,000kmabove Earth, ac­cord­ing to Qu Yan, deputy head of the Shang­hai Acad­emy of Space­flight Tech­nol­ogy un­der the China Aero­space Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy Corp, which de­vel­oped the satel­lite.

The satel­lite boasts worldlead­ing tech­ni­cal ca­pa­bil­i­ties in ar­eas such as ground test sen­si­tiv­ity and spec­tral res­o­lu­tion, Qu said.

Nie Dan­rong, deputy di­rec­tor of the acad­emy’s de­part­ment of ap­pli­ca­tion satel­lites, said that the satel­lite will lift po­si­tional ac­cu­racy to a new height of 1 km, four times more ac­cu­rate than the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion, ad­ding that it also has more de­tect­ing chan­nels and im­proved ground res­o­lu­tion for its vis­i­ble-light im­ager.

The Shang­hai Acad­emy of Space­flight Tech­nol­ogy is responsible for the re­search and de­vel­op­ment of all 14 satel­lites in the Fengyun se­ries that have been launched since 1988.

“Each satel­lite has a dif­fer­ent duty. For ex­am­ple, the FY 4 will be equipped with the coun­try’s first imag­ing sen­sor for the ob­ser­va­tion of light­ning. Each gen­er­a­tion of satel­lite in the se­ries has higher pre­ci­sion per­for­mance in terms of tar­get ob­ser­va­tion and data up­date fre­quency than the pre­vi­ous one,” Nie said.

Re­searchers have said the satel­lites play an indispensable role in fore­cast­ing nat­u­ral dis­as­ters such as ty­phoons, storms, floods and droughts.

Qu said: “Fore­cast­ing of ty­phoons has be­come in­creas­ingly more ac­cu­rate, and the Fengyun satel­lites can be cred­ited for this.”

Since 2000, all ty­phoons formed and de­vel­oped in the WesternPaci­f­i­can­dSouthChina Sea have been suc­cess­fully de­tectedand­traced, he said.

China’sme­te­o­ro­log­i­cal satel­lites, to­gether with those from the US and Europe, are used by the World Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Or­ga­ni­za­tion, which means weather data col­lected by the satel­lites is made avail­able to more than 3,000 weather forecast out­lets in more than 90 coun­tries and re­gions world­wide.

“As a member of the In­ter­na­tional Char­ter on Space andMa­jor Dis­as­ters, China’s weather satel­lites play an im­por­tant role in­ter­na­tion­ally. Data from our satel­lites di­rectly in­forms weather fore­casts across the globe,” Nie said.

China plans to ex­pand its net­work of weather satel­lites in the fol­low­ing decade to en­able more pre­cise de­tec­tion of wind, rain­fall and at­mo­spheric com­po­si­tion, ac­cord­ing to Nie.

“There will also be a satel­lite spe­cial­iz­ing in eco­log­i­cal and en­vi­ron­men­tal mon­i­tor­ing, es­pe­cially the long-term mon­i­tor­ing and fore­cast­ing of air pol­lu­tion,” he said.

Dis­tance be­tween the Earth and geo­sta­tion­ary or­bit that the satel­lite will be launched into

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