Fēngyún Wèixīng
Model FY-2 in Shanghai museum
Program overview
CountryChina People's Republic of China
Program history
First flight6 September 1988
Vehicle information
Launch vehicle(s)

Fēngyún (FY, simplified Chinese: 风云; traditional Chinese: 風雲; lit. 'wind cloud') are China's meteorological satellites. Launched since 1988 into polar Sun-synchronous and geosynchronous orbit, each three-axis stabilized Fengyun satellite is built by the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology (SAST) and operated by the China Meteorological Administration (CMA).[1][2] To date, China has launched twenty-one Fengyun satellites in four classes (FY-1 through FY-4). Fengyun 1 and Fengyun 3 satellites are in polar, Sun-synchronous orbit and Low Earth orbit while Fengyun 2 and 4 are geosynchronous orbit.[2]

On 11 January 2007, China destroyed one of these satellites (FY-1C, COSPAR 1999-025A) in a test of an anti-satellite missile.[3][4] According to NASA, the intentional destruction of FY-1C created more than 3,000 high-velocity debris items, a larger amount of dangerous space junk than any other space mission in history.[5]


Fengyun 1

The four satellites of the Fengyun 1 (or FY-1) class were China's first meteorological satellites placed in polar, Sun-synchronous orbit.[6] In this orbit, FY-1 satellites orbited the Earth at both a low altitude (approximate 900 km above the Earth's surface), and at a high inclination between 98.8° and 99.2° traversing the North Pole every 14 minutes, giving FY-1-class satellites global meteorological coverage with a rapid revisit time and closer proximity to the clouds they image.[7][8] FY-1A, launched in September 1988, lasted 39 days until it suffered attitude control problems.[6] FY-1B, launched in September 1990 along with the first two QQW (Qi Qui Weixing) balloon satellites,[9] lasted until late 1992 when its attitude control system also failed.[6] FY-1C, launched in May 1999 along with Shijian-5, also completed its two-year design life operating until January 2004.[6] The last satellite of the class, FY-1D, was launched in May 2002 and operated continuously for nine years until in May 2011 operations were temporarily lost. Despite resuscitation, FY-1D failed on 1 April 2012.[6][10]

All Fengyun 1 satellites were launched from Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center (TSLC) in Shanxi Province on Long March 4A and 4B rockets and weighed 750 kg, 880 kg, 954 kg, and 954 kg respectively. Aboard each satellite were two multichannel visible and infrared scanning radiometers (MVISR) built by the Shanghai Institute of Technical Physics (SITP) bearing an optical scanner, image processor, radiant cooler, and controller for the radiant cooler.[11][12][6] FY-1C and FY-1D satellites also carried on board a high-energy particle detector (HEPD) for study of the space environment, contributing to their increased mass.[6] FY-1 satellites are powered by two deployable solar arrays and internal batteries.[6]

Destruction of FY-1C

Main article: 2007 Chinese anti-satellite missile test

On 11 January 2007, China conducted its first anti-satellite (ASAT) missile test, destroying FY-1C with a kinetic kill vehicle, identified by the United States Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) as the SC-19,[13] a modified DF-21 ballistic missile with mounted kill vehicle.[14] The shootdown, and the subsequent creation of a record-setting amount of in-orbit debris, drew serious international criticism.[15][16][17][18][19]

Fengyun 2

Satellites of the Fengyun 2 class are based on the spin-stabilized Dong Fang Hong 2 platform and are China's first class of meteorological satellites in geostationary orbit.[20] Unlike meteorological satellites in polar orbit (like the FY-1 and FY-3 classes), FY-2 satellites in geostationary orbit remain in a fixed position relative to the Earth 35,000 km above its surface and maintain a constant watch over an assigned area.[21][22] Unlike polar orbiting satellites which view the same area about twice a day, geostationary satellites can image a location as fast as once a minute and show long term meteorological trends - at the cost of resolution.[21][22]

Built by the Shanghai Institute of Satellite Engineering and operated by the Chinese Meteorological Administration, FY-2 satellites are 4.5 m tall and are spin-stabilized rotating at 100 rotations per minute. FY-2-class satellites have been marketed for their openly available data whereby any user with a receiver could view FY-2 derived sensory data.[20] Satellites of the Fengyun 2 class have a mass of 1,380 kilograms, use solar cells and batteries for power, and a FG-36 apogee motor jettisoned after attaining orbit.[20]

On 2 April 1994, China attempted to launch the Fengyun 2 from Xichang Satellite Launch Center (XSLC) when, prior to its mating with the Long March 3, a fire caused an explosion destroying the satellite, killing a technician, and injuring 20 others. Officials of the Chinese space agency described the $75 million USD loss of the satellite as a "major setback" to the Chinese space program.[20][23] Despite this, China launched eight successive Fengyun 2 satellites without incident.[20]

Model FY-3 in Shanghai museum

Fengyun 3

Chinese participation in the monitoring of auroras for scientific and space weather investigation was initiated with the launch of the Fengyun-3D satellite, which carries a wide-field auroral imager.[11][12]

Fengyun 4

A mockup of a FY-4 satellite

As of 2021, China has launched two Fengyun 4 class satellites.

List of satellites

Satellite Launch Orbit Orbital apsis Inclination Period (min) SCN COSPAR Launch site Vehicle Status
Fenyun 1A 6 September 1988 Sun-synchronous 880.0 km × 899.9 km 99.2° 102.6 19467 1988-080A TSLC Long March 4A Decayed
Fengyun 1B 3 September 1990 Sun-synchronous 880.2 km × 902.5 km 98.8° 102.6 20788 1990-081A TSLC Long March 4A Decayed
Fengyun 2-01 4 April 1994 Exploded before launch XSLC Long March 3 Destroyed before launch
Fengyun 2A 10 June 1997 Geostationary 36,588.1 km × 37,451.4 km 15.0° 1499.1 24834 1997-029A XSLC Long March 3 Decayed
Fengyun 1C 10 May 1999 Sun-synchronous 832.3 km × 851.7 km 99.0° 101.4 25730 1999-025A TSLC Long March 4B Destroyed in 2007[24]
Fengyun 2B 25 June 2000 Geostationary 35,830.7 km × 35,848.3 km 11.9° 1438.7 26382 2000-032A XSLC Long March 3 Decayed
Fengyun 1D 15 May 2002 Sun-synchronous 855.7 km × 878.8 km 99.1° 102.1 27431 2002-024B TSLC Long March 4B Decayed
Fengyun 2C 19 October 2004 Geostationary 36,393.0 km × 36,443.3 km 10.2° 1468.1 28451 2004-042A XSLC Long March 3A Decayed
Fengyun 2D 8 December 2006 Geostationary 36,330.7 km × 36,442.4 km 8.3° 1466.5 29640 2006-053A XSLC Long March 3A Decayed
Fengyun 3A 27 May 2008 Sun-synchronous 830.0 km × 843.5 km 98.5° 101.4 32958 2008-026A TSLC Long March 4C Decayed
Fengyun 2E 23 December 2008 Geostationary 35,785.9 km × 35,805.9 km 6.1° 1436.1 33463 2008-066A XSLC Long March 3A Decayed
Fengyun 3B 4 November 2010 Sun-synchronous 835.3 km × 868.6 km 99.1° 101.8 37214 2010-059A TSLC Long March 4C Decayed
Fengyun 2F 13 January 2012 Geostationary 35,794.2 km × 35,799.5 km 4.0° 1436.2 38049 2012-002A XSLC Long March 3A Operational
Fengyun 3C 23 September 2013 Sun-synchronous 837.7 km × 854.8 km 98.5° 101.6 39260 2013-052A TSLC Long March 4C Operational
Fengyun 2G 31 December 2014 Geostationary 35,782.4 km × 35,798.7 km 2.1° 1435.9 40367 2014-090A XSLC Long March 3A Operational
Fengyun 4A 10 December 2016 Geostationary 35,784.0 km × 35,802.9 km 0.2° 1436.2 41882 2016-077A XSLC Long March 3B Operational
Fengyun 3D 14 November 2017 Sun-synchronous 833.4 km × 836.9 km 98.8° 101.4 43010 2017-072A TSLC Long March 4C Operational
Fengyun 2H 5 June 2018 Geostationary 35,776.6 km × 35,814.1 km 1.3° 1436.0 43491 2018-050A XSLC Long March 3A Operational
Fengyun 4B 2 June 2021 Geostationary 35,786.6 km × 35,802.2 km 0.2° 1436.1 48808 2021-047A XSLC Long March 3B Operational
Fengyun 3E 4 July 2021 Sun-synchronous 831.3 km × 835.4 km 98.7° 101.4 49008 2021-062A JSLC Long March 4C Operational
Fengyun 3G 16 April 2023 Low Earth 410.0 km × 416.0km 50.0° 92.7 56232 2023-055A JSLC Long March 4B Operational
Fengyun 3F 3 August 2023 Sun-synchronous 832.9 km × 834.1km 98.8° 101.4 57490 2023-111A JSLC Long March 4C Operational
Sources: USSPACECOM, NASA, WMO, CelesTrak

See also


  1. ^ Gebhardt, Chris (4 July 2021). "China lofts Fengyun 3E polar weather satellite". NASA Spaceflight.
  2. ^ a b Xian, Di; Zhang, Peng; Fang, Meng; Liu, Chang; Jia, Xu (16 January 2020). "The First Fengyun Satellite International User Conference" (PDF). Advances in Atmospheric Sciences. 38 (August 2021). Beijing, China: Springer Publishing: 1429–1432. doi:10.1007/s00376-020-2011-5. S2CID 216111411.
  3. ^ David, Leonard (2 February 2007). "China's Anti-Satellite Test: Worrisome Debris Cloud Circles Earth". Space.com.
  4. ^ Kestenbaum, David (19 January 2007). "Chinese Missile Destroys Satellite in 500-Mile Orbit". NPR.
  5. ^ NASA identifies Top Ten space junk missions Archived 2013-10-19 at the Wayback Machine; Michael Cooney, NetworkWorld, 28 July 2010
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Krebs, Gunter D. (30 July 2019). "FY 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D". Gunter's Space Page.
  7. ^ "Two Orbits, One Mission: NOAA Satellites Work Together To Provide Critical Data for Weather Forecasts". NOAA–NASA GOES-R. 29 June 2020.
  8. ^ Hillger, Donald W. (1997). "Complimenting Geostationary Weather Satellites" (PDF). Topical Time (July–August): 33–35 – via Colorado State University.
  9. ^ Krebs, Gunter D. (21 July 2019). "QQW 1, 2 (DQ 1, 2)". Gunter's Space Page.
  10. ^ "Satellite: FY-1D". United Nations: World Meteorological Organization. 11 December 2017.
  11. ^ a b Lui, A., 2019. Imaging global auroras in space. Light: Science & Applications, 8(1).
  12. ^ a b Zhang, Xiao-Xin; Chen, Bo; He, Fei; Song, Ke-Fei; He, Ling-Ping; Liu, Shi-Jie; Guo, Quan-Feng; Li, Jia-Wei; Wang, Xiao-Dong; Zhang, Hong-Ji; Wang, Hai-Feng; Han, Zhen-Wei; Sun, Liang; Zhang, Pei-Jie; Dai, Shuang (2019). "Wide-field auroral imager onboard the Fengyun satellite". Light: Science & Applications. 8 (47): 47. Bibcode:2019LSA.....8...47Z. doi:10.1038/s41377-019-0157-7. PMC 6529440. PMID 31123586.
  13. ^ "Senator Clinton Questions Vice Admiral John M. McConnell, USN (ret), Director of National Intelligence and Lieutenant General Michael Maples, USA, the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency at a Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing on Worldwide Threats". February 27, 2007. Archived from the original on March 30, 2007. Retrieved April 24, 2007.
  14. ^ "Sc-19 Asat". Archived from the original on June 13, 2017. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
  15. ^ "Chinese ASAT Test". Archived from the original on April 23, 2007. Retrieved April 18, 2007.
  16. ^ "ISS crew take to escape capsules in space junk alert". BBC. March 24, 2012. Archived from the original on March 24, 2012. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
  17. ^ BBC News (2007). Concern over China's missile test. Retrieved January 20, 2007. Archived May 12, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ Agence France-Presse (January 19, 2007). "Britain Concerned By Chinese Satellite Shoot-Down". Spacedaily.com. Archived from the original on June 7, 2011.
  19. ^ Kestenbaum, David (January 19, 2007). "Chinese Missile Destroys Satellite in 500-Mile Orbit". National Public Radio. Archived from the original on November 21, 2011.
  20. ^ a b c d e Krebs, Gunter D. (21 July 2019). "FY 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H". Gunter's Space Page.
  21. ^ a b "Weather Satellites". National Weather Service.
  22. ^ a b Hanson, Derek; Peronto, James; Hilderbrand, Douglas. "NOAA's Eyes in the Sky - After Five Decades of Weather Forecasting with Environmental Satellites, What Do Future Satellites Promise for Meteorologists and Society?". World Meteorological Organization. 62 (1). Archived from the original on December 18, 2023.
  23. ^ Tyler, Patrick E. (27 April 1994). "China Says Blast Won't Slow Satellite Launchings". The New York Times. p. 3.
  24. ^ "Concern over China's missile test". BBC News. 2007-01-19.