Launch Updates - Analytical Graphics, Inc.

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New Launch: 2012 January 13, 0056 UTC
Site: Xichang Launch Facility, PRC
Launcher: Long March 3A (Chang Zheng 3A)
International Designator(s): 2012-002A
SSC Name Owner

"A new Chinese weather satellite streaked into space Friday on top of a Long March 3A rocket, China's second flawless space launch this week.

"The Fengyun 2F spacecraft lifted off at 0056 GMT Friday (7:56 p.m. EST Thursday) from the Xichang space base in southwestern China's Sichuan province, according to the Chinese defense ministry. Liftoff occurred at 8:56 a.m. Beijing time.

"The 172-foot[52.4-m]-tall rocket released the 3,000-pound [1,361-kg] satellite in an oval-shaped [sic] transfer orbit about 24 minutes after launch. State media reported the launch was successful.

"It was the second Chinese space launch this week, coming four days after a Long March 4B rocket hauled a high-resolution mapping satellite into orbit from another space center.

"Fengyun 2F will enter service for the China Meteorological Administration. The spacecraft will collect real-time weather imagery every 15 minutes for forecasters in China and neighboring countries.

"In the next few weeks, the satellite will raise its orbit to an altitude of 22,300 miles [35,888 km] over the equator and position itself over the equator at 112 degrees east longitude. Fengyun 2F will begin its operational life as a backup satellite, serving with other weather satellites launched in 2006 and 2008.

"Fengyun 2F features improvements over earlier Fengyun 2-series satellites, including an extension of its design life to four years. The craft carries instruments for visible and infrared high-resolution cloud imagery and for monitoring space weather."

[Note: This launch notification was delayed pending identification by USSTRATCOM.]

Source: Spaceflight Now, "Chinese weather satellite launched by Long March"

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