Beijing, China, 16 May 2006 — A new weather satellite, developed in Shanghai to improve weather forecasting, is expected to be launched late next year, the satellite designer told the Shanghai Daily on 15 May. The orbiter, called Fengyun 3, is considered China’s second generation of polar orbiting meteorological satellite. Its lens can zoom in for close-ups of a 250-square-meter area – four times better than the current generation.
Through its microwave band channel, the new orbiter can take three-dimensional pictures by penetrating the clouds. Its predecessor Fengyun 1 could only take two-dimensional pictures. “It will greatly help improve the precision of weather forecasting, particularly for the mid- and long term,” said Meng Zhizhong, a satellite designer at the Shanghai Astronautics Bureau. Working together with geo-stationary orbiters, Fengyun 3 will help eliminate vague weather forecast expressions, such as “rain in some areas.”
The remote-sensing capacity of existing weather orbiters is very limited and they can’t pinpoint the movement of clouds, particularly during monsoon seasons, leading to vague forecasts, experts said.