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China Launches New Communications Satellite

PARIS --China's newest geostationary-orbiting meteorological satellite, FengYun 2D, wassuccessfully launched Dec. 8 aboard a Chinese Long March 3A rocket from the XichangSatellite Launch Center in southwest China, Chinese government officialsannounced.

The 3,086-pound(1,400-kilogram) satellite will operate from 86.5 degrees east longitude andwill serve as a backup for the FengYun 2C satellite, which was launched inOctober 2004 and is located at 105 degrees east longitude.

China is anactive member of the global World Weather Watch system, coordinated by theUnited Nations' World Meteorological Organization, which promotes free globalsharing of weather data worldwide.

The ChineseMeteorological Administration, in November, announced it would extend the reachof its FengYun system as far west as Pakistan, and as far east as New Zealand,by leasing commercial telecommunications satellite capacity to relay the datato users equipped with small satellite-reception dish antennas.

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Charles Q. Choi
Charles Q. Choi

Charles Q. Choi is a contributing writer for Space.com and Live Science. He covers all things human origins and astronomy as well as physics, animals and general science topics. Charles has a Master of Arts degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia, School of Journalism and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Florida. Charles has visited every continent on Earth, drinking rancid yak butter tea in Lhasa, snorkeling with sea lions in the Galapagos and even climbing an iceberg in Antarctica. Visit him at http://www.sciwriter.us