China launched a weather forecasting satellite yesterday to help predict weather for the Summer Olympics and earthquake recovery work.
The Fengyun-3 was launched on a Long March-4C rocket from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in Shanxi Province, the China Meteorological Administration said.
The satellite entered its preset orbit 20 minutes later, the administration said in a notice on its Web site.
The new-generation satellite includes three-dimensional sensors that can monitor the Earth’s atmosphere and climate.
It can also monitor the oceans and polar caps, the agency said.
It will help China prevent natural disasters and respond to climate change, the notice said.
The 2,295kg satellite will help weather officials make more accurate forecasts during the Olympic Games in August.
It will also help predict weather during the reconstruction of areas hit by the May 12 earthquake.
China is worried that rain — August is a damp month in Beijing — might ruin the opening night of the Olympics on Aug. 8.
China last launched a weather-forecasting satellite in December 2006, which will also help predict weather for the Olympics.
China’s space program is an immense source of national pride, and the country hopes it will help spur the development of commercial satellites.
So far, China has been left out of the Western satellite telecommunications market as US rules governing the export of satellite components bars China from using them.
The China Meteorological Administration said the equipment on the satellite launched yesterday was the same standard as US and European satellites, or in some cases better.
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