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China Launches Latest Marine Research Satellite

China launched its latest oceanographic research satellite, the HY-2D, on a Long March 4B carrier rocket from the Gobi Desert on May 19. China National Space Administration states that the satellite, which lifted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, is tasked with working with its two predecessors — the HY-2B and the HY-2C. The task is to form a space-based network monitoring the dynamic marine environment around the clock.

Data generated by the network, which is operated by the Ministry of Natural Resources, will be used in marine weather forecasts, early warnings for storms, maritime transportation and oceanographic and climate change research.

China has paid a great deal of attention to the research and investigation of marine resources for many years and started discussing the construction of marine research satellites in the 1980s. The nation launched its first marine observation satellite, HY-1A, in May 2002, laying the foundation for an oceanographic monitoring system. So far, China has deployed 10 marine satellites into space, including one jointly made by Chinese and French researchers. Oceanic and space authorities plan to launch the HY-3A, the first in the HY-3 series, on a Long March 4B at the Jiuquan centre soon. It will be used to conduct marine surveillance operations with its advanced radar system.

The nation also possesses the world’s first meteorological satellite in a dawn-dusk orbit called  Fengyun-3E (FY-3E). As reported by OpenGov Asia, the satellite was designed and built by China’s aerospace company. The satellite has passed a factory review in Shanghai getting it one step closer to launching into space.

A dawn-dusk orbit is a sun-synchronous orbit where the satellite tracks but never moves into the Earth’s shadow. Since the satellite is close to the shadow, the part of Earth directly above it is always at sunset or sunrise, hence the name “dawn-dusk orbit.” As the sun’s light is always shining on the satellite, it can make constant use of its solar panels. Once in orbit, the FY-3E will enhance China’s capabilities in meteorological forecasts, climate change responses, and disaster prevention and reduction. The FY-3E will also be capable of environmental and ecological monitoring, space weather forecasts, and early warnings.

Under the strategy of military-civil integration, China’s aerospace company pays great attention to space technology applications such as satellite applications, information technology, new energy and materials, special space technology applications, and space biology. The company also greatly develops space services such as satellite and its ground operation, international space commercial services, space financial investment, software and information services. Now the company is the only broadcast and communications satellite operator in China.

China’s space programme also made significant advancements when it landed a spacecraft on Mars, becoming the second country after the United States to have a rover on the red planet. As reported by OpenGov Asia, A Chinese spacecraft successfully landed on the surface of Mars on May 15, marking a historic accomplishment in China’s space endeavours and making it the second country in the world to achieve the feat.

Tianwen 1 mission has left China’s first mark on the Red Planet and is another landmark achievement in the development of China’s space industry. The touchdown of Tianwen 1 on Mars was the latest example of China’s rapidly expanding presence in outer space.

The Mars landing was a serious test for the country’s capabilities in science, technology and engineering. Such a challenging attempt is characterised by a succession of complex activities that must be conducted completely by the spacecraft within a very short period of time. The lack of knowledge about the Martian atmosphere also brought a lot of uncertainties to the mission. Despite its extreme difficulty, every step during the entry, descent and landing processes was executed with perfect accuracy.

China has started planning for a sample-return mission to Mars, a task not yet achieved by any country. From the Chinese perspective, space benefits Chinese diplomacy and technology. By going to Mars, it demonstrates that China can contribute to the global pool of human knowledge

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