China launches meteorological satellite to benefit Belt and Road countries

6/6/2018

Beijing, China has launched the new Fengyun-2H meteorological satellite to provide better meteorological services to countries participating in its Belt and Road Initiative. The Fengyun-2H meteorological satellite, carried by a Long March-3A rocket, was launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province on Tuesday.It was the 277th mission of the Long March rocket series. A geostationary orbit satellite, Fengyun-2H is the last in the Fengyun-2 series.The Fengyun-4 series will dominate China's new generation geostationary orbit meteorological satellites, said Zhao Jian, deputy director of the Department of System Engineering of China National Space Administration,reports Xinhua news agency. Equipped with a scanning radiometer and space environment monitor, Fengyun-2H will provide real time cloud and water vapor images and space weather information to clients in the Asia-Pacific region, said Wei Caiying, chief commander of the ground application system of Fengyun-2H and deputy director of the National Satellite Meteorological Center. The Belt and Road region, which is mainly high mountains, deserts and oceans, lacks meteorological information. Damage from natural disasters, especially meteorological disasters, in the region is more than double the world average. After four months of in-orbit tests, Fengyun-2H will provide data to help Belt and Road countries better cope with natural hazards, Zhao said. "The move shows China's willingness to construct a community with a shared future," said Zhao.It also addresses a WMO request to strengthen satellite observation of the Indian Ocean to fill a gap in the region, which is China's contribution to the international community as a major power of the developing world, Zhao said. China will offer data of the Fengyun series free to Belt and Road countries and Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization member countries, said Zhao. China has helped establish ground stations to receive the data in some APSCO member countries, including Pakistan, Indonesia, Thailand, Iran and Mongolia. China plans to upgrade the stations and provide training to technicians in those countries. If countries along the Belt and Road are struck by disasters like typhoons, rainstorms, sandstorms and forest or prairie fires, they can apply for and quickly get the data, Wei said. China's meteorological satellites have played an important role in the Belt and Road region. For instance, the Fengyun-2E satellite captured an indication of heavy rainfall in Pakistan in August 2017, and issued a timely warning to avoid casualties.

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