China is boosting its weather forecast and natural disaster prevention capacity with a new weather satellite delivered to the China Meteorological Administration on Monday.
"FY-3C, a polar orbiting meteorological satellite, marks a milestone for China's meteorological satellite development, making China one of the most advanced countries in this field," said Zheng Guoguang, director of the administration.
The delivered satellite will replace FY-3A, the test satellite launched in 2008, and provide global air temperature, humidity profiles and meteorological parameters such as cloud and surface radiation required in producing weather forecasts.
The FY-3C satellite, designed to last five years, carries 12 remote sensing instruments, including microwave temperature and humidity sounders and GNSS occultation detectors, a new payload for the global three-dimensional and vertical soundings of the atmosphere.
The satellite, launched in September from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in Shanxi province, will be the country's 13th weather satellite launched since 1988.
"The performance of the FY-3C is quite outstanding," said Zhang Peng, deputy director of the National Satellite Meteorological Center.
The FY-3 series has more than 20,000 domestic and foreign users registered for the data, and the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites has daily operational data exchanges with CMA.
Yu Rucong, CMA's deputy director, said the US also plans to have operational data exchanges with the FY-3 series.
In April, FY-3C joined the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters.
Another 10 meteorological satellites are planned for launch before 2020, according to a national meteorological satellite development plan, which envisions an investment of at least 20 billion yuan ($33 million).
Experimental satellites are not covered in the launch plan.
Another weather satellite of the FY-2 series to be launched by the end of this year will strengthen monitoring capacity on greenhouse gas.
Yu said scientists and engineers are busy working on the first satellite of the FY-4 series with the FY-5 and 6 series under development.
Although 10 additional satellites will be in operation by 2020, Yu is not satisfied, saying the CMA will begin drawing a new national meteorological development plan late this year for 2021 to 2030.
Li Qing, a senior engineer at the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology, said the development in weather satellite technology is entering a peak period in China.