China launches Fengyun-4B weather satellite into orbit

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A new Chinese weather satellite was put into orbit on Wednesday June 2 with “complete success”, according to one of the participating state’s contractors.

The Fengyun-4B blasted off into space aboard a Long March 3B rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China at 12:17 p.m. EDT (5:17 p.m. GMT or 00:17 a.m. local time). Thursday, June 3).

The new satellite joins a network of Fengyun geostationary and polar-orbiting satellites and will enter geostationary orbit, according to NASASpaceflight.com. The first of the Fengyun series, a low Earth orbit satellite test machine called FY-1A, launched in 1988 for a short mission, the report adds.

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A Chinese Long March 3B rocket launches the Fengyun-4B satellite into orbit from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center. (Image credit: Guo Wenbin/Xinhua)

Fengyun-4B will be “mainly used for weather analysis and forecasting, short-term weather disaster warning, short-term climate forecasting, ecological environment, and space environment monitoring,” said Fengyun-4B. said state-owned contractor China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. said in a report automatically translated into English.

The last geostationary satellite launched in the series was Fengyun-4A, which flew into space in 2016. It was also used to capture images of the Moon and Earth during Chinese launches in lunar regions. New imaging and space environment payloads aboard Fengyun-4B “will improve China’s high-frequency atmospheric monitoring and ability to observe a number of smaller-scale weather phenomena. and of shorter duration. SpaceNews said in a recent report.

China plans more than 40 launches in 2021, SpaceNews said in January, and recently it has come under intense scrutiny from the new Biden administration. Current law stemming from a 2011 ruling bars NASA from most activity with China without the express support of Congress, but government concern grew after the launch of a new Chinese space station and the China’s first robotic landing on Mars, among other activities.

Biden’s new representative for NASA Administrator Bill Nelson has condemned China’s decision to allow a large Long March 5B rocket to plummet uncontrollably to Earth in May, the second such incident in one. year. Additionally, in recent weeks, congressional officials have questioned Nelson and Biden’s nominee for deputy administrator, Pam Melroy, about China’s activities in space.

In his testimony, Nelson pointed to recent Chinese robotic missions to the Moon and Mars as proof that NASA needs to move quickly in implementing its own human landing program, called Artemis. During his own hearing, Melroy said China’s “aggressive behavior” in space – including intellectual property theft – is aimed at taking away “space superiority” from the United States.

Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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