BEIJING, June 11 (Xinhua) — China plans to send a meteorological weather satellite into a dawn-dusk orbit, its developer said Thursday.
The satellite was designed and built by the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology, affiliated with the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. It will be the world’s first polar-orbiting weather satellite in a dawn-dusk orbit.
According to the academy, the satellite is undergoing final tests and is expected to come out of the factory by the end of 2020.
A dawn-to-dusk orbit is a sun-synchronous orbit in which the satellite tracks but never moves into the Earth’s shadow. Since the satellite is close to the shadow, the part of the Earth the satellite is directly above is always at sunset or sunrise. As the sun’s light is always on the satellite, it can always use its solar panels.
China has launched four Fengyun-1 and four Fengyun-3 polar-orbiting weather satellites, which were also developed by the academy. Four more Fengyun-3 satellites are under development.
Once the satellite is put in a dawn-dusk orbit, China will be able to update its global polar-orbiting meteorological satellite data in four hours, improving its numerical weather forecast capacities, the academy said.