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China fixes position of metereological satellite for Olympic weather forecasts Dec. 22. 2006

China on Wednesday successfully fixed the position of its second meteorological satellite, Fengyun-2D (FY-2D), which will provide weather forecasts for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

The Xi'an Satellite Control Center reported that the satellite was functioning normally.

After 16 hours in outer space following its launch on Friday, Fengyun-2D received signals from the ground control at 1:25 a.m. Saturday and moved into its designed orbit powered by engine ignition 42 minutes later, indicating that Fengyun-2D successfully entered a quasi-synchronous orbit.

The FY-2D, developed and manufactured by the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology affiliated to China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp., can observe weather changes around the clock. It is capable of carrying out analysis on the form and structure of clouds and can also analyse data on daytime light.

It will form a twin-star observation system with Fengyun-2C, China's first geostationary orbit weather satellite which went into orbit on Oct. 19, 2004, according to the China Meteorological Administration (CMA).

The two satellites have their own observation tasks, but can also replace each other if one of them malfunctions, the CMA said.

The FY-2D will also help the CMA bolster weather monitoring information from west China where cold fronts and sandstorms usually begin.

The CMA is to launch more FY-2 series geostationary orbit meteorological satellites in the coming years, and also has started developing new generations of solar-synchronous meteorological satellites and geostationary orbit meteorological satellites.

After the successful launch of the FY-2D, China dispatched eight meteorological satellites, including four Fengyun-1 polar orbit meteorological satellites and three Fengyun-2 series geostationary orbit meteorological satellites.

China will launch another 22 meteorological satellites by 2020, including four more from the Fengyun-2 series, 12 from the Fengyun-3 series and six from Fengyun-4 series, according to the CMA.

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