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China’s Meteorological Satellite a World-first

Landscape from bird view of Cargo ships entering one of the busiest ports in the world, Singapore.

A Chinese meteorological satellite, Fengyun-3E (FY-3E), will be the world’s first meteorological satellite in a dawn-dusk orbit. 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.

The aerospace company is a product provider with the largest scale and strongest technical strength in China’s image information record industry. Over the past decades, the company has made outstanding contributions to national economic and social development, national defence modernisation and scientific and technical progress.

At present, The aerospace company is dedicating itself to building China into a space power, continuously carrying out the national major scientific and technical programs such as Manned Spaceflight, Lunar Exploration, Beidou Navigation and High-Resolution Earth Observation System.

They are initiating several new major programs and projects such as heavy launch vehicle, Mars exploration, asteroid exploration, space vehicle in-orbit service and maintenance, and space-ground integrated information network; and actively conducting international exchanges and cooperation, thus making new contributions to peaceful use of outer space and benefiting mankind as a whole.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, China shows a strong ambition to develop its space program by launching the core capsule of its massive space station. China launched the core capsule which is tasked with transporting the 22.5-ton capsule to a low-Earth orbit about 400 kilometres above the land to place the first piece of China’s space station. This is the biggest and heaviest spacecraft China has ever constructed. The craft’s weight equals that of 15 ordinary-sized cars combined.

Construction for the space station marks the beginning of the third stage in China’s manned space program, which was approved by the government in 1992. The program’s first two stages had concluded successfully with six manned spaceflights and two experimental space lab missions.

The station will be manned by three astronauts in extended shifts that will last several months. During handovers between shifts, the station will accommodate up to six astronauts. The entire Tiangong station is expected to become fully operational around the end of 2022 and is set to work for about 15 years. In addition to its components, the station will also be accompanied by an optical telescope that will be lifted after the station’s completion to fly together with it, according to them.

China will strive to make sure that the space station will be made the best use of to advance space science, technology and application. Scientists will be able to use the facility’s unique environment to perform mutation breeding, produce special medicines and create new materials, thus generating scientific, technological and economic benefits.

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