China has launched Feng Yun 2H meteorological spacecraft five days ahead of the scheduled date. China planned to launch the satellite on June 10, but the actual launch happened on June 5. The satellite launched aboard the Long March 3A from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Southwest China.
The satellite lifted off at 13:07 GMT and the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CAST) announced that the launch was successful just about an hour after the liftoff.
The Feng Yun 2H satellite is the eight satellite in the Fengyun-2 satellite series. This satellite is also the last in the series. The construction of these satellites began in the 1980s. The satellite has a service life of 4 years. The National Satellite Meteorological Center (NSMC) of the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) will operate the Feng Yun 2H.
China has started building a second generation weather satellites. These satellites named Feng Yun 4 are still in the early development stages. However, the country launched the first of the series in December 2016. The name of that satellite is Feng Yun 4A.
China intends to launch a total of seven Feng Yun 4 satellite through to 2037. This launch is China’s 17th launch in 2018. CASC is planning up to 36 launches for this year. Even though CASC is the primary launch provider in the country, there is a possibility that private launch providers in the country can also increase the total number of orbital launches by the end of the year.
The Feng Yun 4 mission features a two variant program. One section carries optical sensors while the other one carries microwave sensors. The Feng Yun 4 will improve on the Feng Yun 2 series with regards to product type, data amount, applications, and network transmission bandwidth.
China will eventually replace Feng Yun 1 and Feng Yun 2 series with the Feng Yun 3 and Feng Yun 4 series. The next launch at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center is likely to be the Beidou satellites in late June. The Beidou satellite will launch aboard a Long March 3B. The satellite will launch into medium earth orbit.
China would also launch a Pakistani remote sensing satellite from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in north China.
The country has not started reasons why they decided to move the launch of the Feng Yun 2H forward, and very little information was given before the launch. Feng Yun is a Chinese word which means Winds and Clouds.