China’s first precipitation measurement satellite starts operation

An illustration of the Fengyun-3G. /CMG

An illustration of the Fengyun-3G. /CMG

China’s first precipitation measurement satellite in a low-inclination orbit, the Fengyun-3G (FY-3G), was officially put into operation on Wednesday, according to China Meteorological Administration.

Launched on April 16, 2023, FY-3G is mainly used in precipitation climatology research and systematic precipitation monitoring of disastrous weather. The satellite can provide three-dimensional structure information of precipitation in regions of middle and low latitudes.

The successful launch of the satellite made China the only country to simultaneously operate four civilian meteorological satellites in near-earth orbit, covering morning, noon, afternoon and inclined orbital paths.

The global observation of precipitation, especially the three-dimensional structure observation, has always been a difficult problem in meteorological detection, Chen Lin, deputy chief designer of the FY-3G ground system, said in an interview with China Media Group (CMG).

The satellite has completed over six months of trial operation since October 23, 2023. During the trial operation, the satellite-ground system operated stably and the satellite platform, on-board payload and satellite measurement and control all remained in normal condition. The four assessment indicators, namely data reception, data processing, product distribution and data archiving, all met the standards.

“Throughout the year, the FY-3G has not only provided strong and powerful support for weather service guarantees for China’s Universiade, Asian Games and other events, but also provided support for monitoring global disasters such as floods in Pakistan, heavy rainfall in Brazil and the recent heavy rainfall in Yemen,” Chen said.

The satellite’s family, Fengyun meteorological satellite system, has been independently developed by China. Since the launch of the first Fengyun meteorological satellite in 1988, a total of 21 Fengyun meteorological satellites of two generations and four types have been successfully sent up. Nine of them are still in orbit.

With years of efforts, Fengyun meteorological satellites have reached the international advanced level, with some technologies leading the world.