China has launched an FY-3D meteorological satellite into a polar orbit from Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre in Shanxi province.

Deployed by a Long March-4C rocket, FY-3D is China’s fourth second-generation polar-orbiting meteorological satellite and will replace the orbiting FY-3B satellite.

The satellite is designed to provide weather forecasts in medium-and-long range numerical weather prediction (NWP) model, enabling high-impact weather forecast up to a week in advance, as well as alleviate natural disasters’ impacts on economy and society and improve livelihood.

It will be jointly operated by China Meteorological Administration (CMA) and China’s National Satellite Meteorological Centre (NSMC).

“China has so far launched 16 meteorological satellites into space.”

Equipped with greenhouse gases probing capacity, FY-3D is also developed to help tackle climate change, in addition to serving ecological civilisation construction and ‘Belt and Road’ initiative.

FY-3D features a total of ten instruments, which includes a microwave temperature sounder (MWTS), microwave humidity sounder (MHTS), microwave radiation imager (MWRI), space environment monitor (SEM), and global navigation satellite system occultation sounder (GNOS).

These instruments have also been installed onboard previous polar-orbiting satellites.

The remaining five instruments including hyperspectral infrared atmospheric sounder (HIRAS), hyperspectral near-infrared greenhouse gases absorption spectrometer (GAS), wide-angle aurora imager (WAI), and an ionospheric photometer (IPM) have been developed newly for the FY-3D satellite.

The medium resolution spectrum imager (MERSI), one of the core instruments onboard the FY-3 series satellites, has been upgraded, which can compete with the imager instrument onboard American JPSS-1 meteorological satellite.

The WAI and IPM instruments onboard FY-3D are expected to help protect China’s space infrastructure security and enable the country to boost its marine power.

China has so far launched 16 meteorological satellites into space.