China launch meteorological satellite Fengyun-2-06

by Rui C. Barbosa
China has launched a new meteorological satellite from its Xi Chang Satellite Launch Center at 00:54UTC on December 23. The Fengyun-2-06 satellite was orbited by a CZ-3A Chang Zheng-3A launch vehicle.

According to the China Meteorological Administration the Fengyun-2-06 “will copy meteorological data from preceding satellites after orbit operation trials”. The new satellite will replace the old Fengyun-2C that has outlived its lifetime service.

The Fengyun series of meteorological satellites has provided “high-quality data for weather forecasting, climate change prediction and natural disaster supervision”, with statistics showing that “more than 2,500 users, both at home and abroad, have accessed data processed by the Fengyun-2 satellite series.”

The CZ-3A Chang Zheng-3A launch vehicle is a three-stage launch vehicle that incorporates the mature technologies of the CZ-3 with the addition of a more powerful cryogenic third stage and more capable control system.

The CZ-3A has a greater geosynchronous transfer orbit capability, greater flexibility for attitude control, and better adaptability to a variety of launch missions.

The Xi Chang Satellite Launch Centre is situated in the Sichuan Province, south-western China and is the country’s launch site for geosynchronous orbital launches.

Equipped with two launch pads (LC2 and LC3), the centre has a dedicated railway and highway lead directly to the launch site. The Command and Control Centre is located seven kilometres south-west of the launch pad, providing flight and safety control during launch rehearsal and launch.

Other facilities on the Xi Chang Satellite Launch Centre are the Launch Control Centre, propellant fuelling systems, communications systems for launch command, telephone and data communications for users, and support equipment for meteorological monitoring and forecasting.

The first launch from Xi Chang took place at 12:25UTC on January 29, 1984, when the CZ-3 Chang Zheng-3 (CZ3-1) was launched the Shiyan Weixing (14670 1984-008A) communications satellite into orbit. Fengyun-2-06 launch was the 48th successful orbital launch from Xi Chang.

This launch was the 11th orbital launch by China in 2008, the 116th Chinese orbital launch and the fourth orbital launch from Xi Chang this year.

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