Long March rocket launches first Fengyun-3 weather satellite

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Long March 4C rocket

The Chinese National Space Administration has launched a Long March 4C carrier rocket, carrying the Fengyun-3A (FY-3A) weather satellite. FY-3A is the first of thirteen Fengyun-3 satellites, which will be launched in the next twelve years.

The launch occurred from Launch Area 1 at the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre in Shanxi province, China. Lift-off was at 03:02 GMT this morning, and the ascent to orbit took around 27 minutes, resulting in the successful deployment of the satellite.

Fengyun-3A will provide weather forecasts for the upcoming Olympic Games. It will also be used for general forecasting, both for China and the rest of the world. It will be able to make forecasts around a fortnight in advance. With a 250 metre resolution, it is the most advanced Chinese weather satellite yet launched.

This is the 26th orbital launch of 2008, the 106th launch of a Long March rocket, and the 3rd launch of the Long March 4C, which first flew in 2006. The next scheduled Chinese launch is believed to be a Long March 3B from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre, with the Chinasat 9 satellite. This will occur in early June.


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