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|Wednesday, February 07, 2001, updated at 08:06(GMT+8)|
New Satellite to Collect Global Weather DataChina will become a major contributor to worldwide research and monitoring of global weather changes with the planned launch of a state-of-the-art meteorological satellite in the next few years.
The satellite, code named "Fengyun 3," Fengyun meaning wind and cloud in Chinese is expected to join two other satellites, developed by the United States and European countries, as key sources of global environmental data.
"The World Weather Organization under the United Nations has designed the trio of satellites to improve research on global meteorological issues," said Meng Zhizhong, satellite chief designer of Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology.
Preparations are underway for the construction of Fengyun 3, which is expected to be in use by 2004.
"A framework for the satellite is already established, the equipment to monitor weather changes is ready and a model of the satellite has been made," said Meng, who is in charge of the satellite programme.
Meng told China Daily in an exclusive interview that the model is still undergoing tests, but would ready for its launch in three years time.
The satellite, the second-generation of polar-orbiting meteorological satellites in China, will benefit the global community by improving the study and scrutiny of global environmental problems, such as ozone layer depletion, the greenhouse effect, natural disasters and air pollution.
"Natural disasters like sandstorms in China, floods in Britain and bushfires in Southeast Asia can be closely observed to curb damages," said Meng.
Meng said the launch would further establish China's reputation as a world satellite power.
"It will advance China's meteorological research and improve China's status in global efforts in weather research," said Meng.
China has become the third country, following the United States and Russia, to develop and launch weather satellites with sun-and-earth-synchronous orbits.
China launched two Fengyun 1 weather satellites in 1988 and 1990 respectively.
Meanwhile, Shanghai Aerospace Administration, China's leading meteorological satellite research house, has said it will launch several new satellites in the next five years.
"Feasibility studies on the design and launch of the Fengyun 4 meteorological satellite have begun," said Meng.
The Fengyun 4, an updated version of the currently-operating Fengyun 2 series, will further improve China's scrutiny of capricious weather changes in the vast but less-developed western regions, said Meng.
CCTV, the largest State-run TV station in China, has recently usedthe Fengyun 2B satellite for weather forecasts, replacing a Japanese-made satellite.
"The advance of China's own satellite technology will contribute to the economic development and benefit people's lives in the western regions," said Meng.
Countries in the Asia Pacific like Australia are also using the Fengyun 2B for weather forecasting.
Shanghai Aerospace Administration has decided to launch Fengyun 2C in 2003, a sister satellite to take over from Fengyun 2B, which will be decommissioned.
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