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Nation will fill skies with eyes before 2008
China plans to put six meteorological satellites into orbit over the next six years to offer comprehensive weather services for the 2008 Olympic Games.
The Fengyun 1-D weather satellite will be carried into space by a Long March 4 carrier rocket by June 2002.
After its launch, the Fengyun satellite will begin to make preparations for short-term and long-term weather forecast and monitoring of the atmospheric environment for the 2008 Games, said Li Huang, deputy-director of China Meteorological Administration.
The other five satellites to be launched before 2008 include a Fengyun 2-C in 2003, a Fengyun 3-A in 2004, a Fengyun 3-B and a Fengyun 2-D in 2006 and a Fengyun 3-C in 2008.
These satellites will be used to monitor and forecast sandstorms, tornadoes, thunderstorms and air quality. They will greatly improve China's ability to predict and even withstand disastrous weather, said Dong Chaohua, director of the National Satellite Meteorological Centre.
China is one of the few countries in the world that possesses polar orbiting and geo-stationary orbiting meteorological satellites.
The operating life of most Chinese satellites is usually two to three years, according to Dong.
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