China launched next-generation geostationary meteorological satellite FY-4-01

China launched next-generation geostationary meteorological satellite FY-4-01



16 December 2016

At 00:11 BJT on December 11,China successfully launched Fengyun-4-01 (FY-4-01), the first of Chinese second-generation geostationary meteorological satellite at Xichang Satellite Launch Center, southwest China's Sichuan Province. FY-4-01 is the first of Fengyun 4 geostationary meteorological satellite family of CMA,which is an important milestone for the development of weather satellites in China.

Fengyun-4-01 is expected to support various weather-related services, including weather forecasting, disaster prevention and reduction, and monitoring and warning of space weather. The capability of addressing climate change, exploring climate resources and monitoring ecological environment will also be enhanced. The first satellite of FY-4 series will explore its use in meteorology, water conservancy, agriculture, environment, energy, aviation and ocean. In addition, it will strongly support the national initiatives such as The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiatives, also known as "One belt, One road".

The number of channels of the scanning radiation imager onboard the FY-4-01 hits 14 and has increased by 3.8 times as compared with that of current operational satellite,the FY-2 satellites. The temporal resolution has increased by twice and can scan the Eastern Hemisphere every fifteen minutes and produce an image of regional observation every minute at its full speed. The highest spatial resolution has increased by seven times, pointing to 500 meters. As a result, through FY-4-01 we can access multispectral, high-precision and quantitative observation data and images. Furthermore, users are expected to investigate the details inside typhoon, rainstorm, flood, forest fire, sand storm and space weather, effectively reducing loss of life and property from disasters.

FY-4-01 is the first quantitative remote sensing satellite of a three-axis stabilization structure on geostationary orbit for China. Four new instruments are onboard with the latest independently developed weather satellite, namely, Advanced Geosynchronous Radiation Imager (AGRI), Geosynchronous Interferometric Infrared Sounder (GIIRS), Lightning Mapping Imager (LMI) and Space Environment Package (SEP).

For the first time in the world FY-4-01 is carrying out an hyper-spectral vertical atmospheric sounding payload,which could conducting a high-precision observation of atmosphere over China and neighborhoods. The observation system is a thousand times more capable than the current system, thus is bound to significantly enhance weather warning and forecasting capability.

FY-4-01 is the first satellite in China which can capture lightning. Lightning Mapping Imager onboard has enabled this function. This instrument is the first geostationary optical remote sensing instrument in China and has filled the gap in terms of lightning observation and satellite-borne detection. This instrument can conduct detection of lightning over China and neighboring areas and take 500 lightning pictures per second. By real-time and consecutive observation of lightning, it can help realize observation and tracking of severe convective weather and provide early warning of lightning disasters.

Fig. GIIRS scan mode

“FY-4-01 innovatively achieves integrated payload configuration. Such elaborated designation can multiply the function of FY-4-01 while substantially cutting down on the research and development costs. Traditionally the imager and sounder are carried by different satellites to prevent mutual interference. However, FY-4-01 successfully overcame this tough problem in the world and various instruments onboard can peacefully work on the same platform without upsetting each other. What’s more, it realizes comprehensive observations of atmosphere with various means for the first time in the world.” Yu Xinwen, Deputy Administrator of China Meteorological Administration (CMA) and commander-in-chief of FY-4 satellite program said.

“The combination of imaging and vertical observation is just like a doctor not only having X-ray pictures but also possessing CT pictures. The data from different scanning parts and directions can provide more precise diagnose of diseases. In this sense, FY-4-01 serves as a heavyweight in improving the accuracy of weather forecasting. ”Xu Yinglong, a chief forecaster of National Meteorological Center of CMA and a chief expert of FY-4 satellite application said.

The “Game Changer” satellite makes a breakthrough in satellite image navigation and registration of three-axis stabilization structure on geostationary orbit, kicking the precision of image geolocation into the international top level.

The newest member of FY-4 series will be situated in orbit 36,000 km above Earth at 99.5°E and named FY-4A. It will go through several months of in-orbit testing before putting into trial use. The second and third satellites of FY-4 series have been added to the launch schedule of 2018 and 2020, respectively.

As part of the capable network of weather satellites in China, FY-4 series will also be an important player in the World Meteorological Organization Integrated Global Observing System and make greater contribution to regional disaster prevention and reduction. (Dec. 11)

FY-4A introduction:

Reporter Lu Jian, Wu Peng and Liu Shuqiao

Editor: Liu Shuqiao



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