[SatNews] Last Wednesday, China successfully launched a new meteorological satellite named Fengyun-II 08 from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province in the country’s southwest.
China’s previous weather satellite, Fengyun-II 07, took off in January 2012 and is currently in orbit.
A Long March 3A rocket carrying Fengyun-II 08 blasted off at 9:02 a.m. local time (8:02 p.m. EST, Tuesday) and delivered the satellite to near-Earth orbit. Both the satellite and the rocket were developed by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), Xinhua reported. The newly launched satellite is expected to collect meteorological, maritime and hydrological data, while also transmitting information that will be useful to forecast weather and monitor environmental changes. According to the report from Xinhua, Wednesday’s launch was the 203rd time a Long March rocket has been used for a launch.
In November, CASC announced that it was planning to launch some 120 satellites in preparation for a national space infrastructure in the future. RIA Novosti has reported that, according to the contractor, the space program will include 70 satellites for environmental monitoring, 20 communications satellites and 30 navigation satellites. China is also planning to start operating its own space station in 2020.