China sent up its first experimental meteorological satellite from a launching centre in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province on September 7.
The satellite, Fengyun (Wind and Cloud) No. 1, has entered the solar-synechronous orbit, with all meters and instruments functioning normally.
Following its launching by a Long March 4 carrier rocket, it transmitted information in about 15 minutes and its first cloud chart picture in one hour and 30 minutes.
The chart of clouds over the Soviet Union and Asia is clear, said experts at the Beijing-based Satellite Meteorological Centre affiliated with the State Meteorological Bureau.
The Xian Satellite Telemetering Centre and the State Meteorological Bureau are testing the satellite according to plan.
It is capable of telemetering cloud charts day and night, earth's surface pictures, ocean-water color-charts, growth of vegetation, temperatures of the ocean surface, and coverage of ice and snow.
It is also capable of surveying the composition of particles in space.
It is designed primarily to gather global meteorological information and transmit the data to satellite ground stations worldwide.
Three meteorological satellite ground stations in Beijing, Guangzhou and Urumqi are capable of receiving data from the satellite every day.
The meteorological satellite is the third successfully launched this year by China, and also April 24, 1970, when China launched its first artificial earth satellite.
The meteorological satellite, as compared with other types of satellites, has the following characteristics:
Launched by a new carrier rocket. Just like Long March 3, Long March 4 is a three-stage one, with a great carrying capacity. The only difference between them is their power installation on the third stage.
Moves in a different orbit. Rotating in a direction opposite to that of the earth, the satellite circles around the earth 14 times a day along the solar-synchronous orbit and twice passes across the sky above all regions except the two poles; in this way, it can obtain high-quality charts and pictures from all over the world.
Observes a broader area. The satellite applies the space technology and remote sensing technology to the scientific study of atmosphere and meteorological survey, therefore, it can observe the surface of the earth as well as the atmosphere from outer space. It also has the advantage of transmitting information promptly and quickly.
China proposes to further raise the function and level of the solar-synchronous orbit meteorological satellite and speed up the development of the earth static orbit meteorological satellite so as to advance the science of meteorology in China, promote the national economy and benefit the people.