China sent a new satellite into orbit Thursday morning to form a network with the subsequent HY-2C and HY-2D for maritime environment monitoring.
A Long March-4B rocket carrying the HY-2B satellite took off at 6:57 a.m. from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in north China's Shanxi Province.
Used to collect oceanic data, the HY-2B can provide 24/7 all-weather observation with a design life of five years. It can cover 90 percent of the world's oceans, and obtain dynamic ocean environment data, such as sea surface temperature, wind speed, sea ice, and rainfall level.
In August 2011, China launched a satellite to collect oceanic data, the HY-2A, which was in orbit for seven years.
On the basis of its predecessor, the HY-2B has been equipped with two new systems: an automatic identification system to track and monitor vessels, and a data collection system to receive, store and transmit buoy measurement data in China's offshore and other sea areas.
It will further improve China's ocean remote sensing capability, forecast and monitoring levels. Its data will also be used in marine disaster relief, the utilization of ocean resources, and the response to climate change.
Developed by the China Academy of Space Technology, the HY-2B marks the launching of China's ocean dynamic environment monitoring network.
"In the past, it took more than 20 days for a single satellite to observe all of Earth's oceans, which could not meet the growing demands of ocean transportation, fishery, scientific research, and maritime safety," said Zhang Qingjun, chief designer of the satellite.
"Therefore, it is necessary to establish an ocean observation network that can quickly provide high-precision ocean environment data."
Between 2012 and 2014, the HY-2 satellite completed 79 typhoon monitoring missions, providing accurate data for typhoon forecasts.
"The HY-2 satellites will play a key role in China's ocean resource survey, disaster relief and environment management. The follow-up satellite network will better serve the world and China's maritime power strategy," said Jiang Xingwei, director of the National Ocean Satellite Application Center under the Ministry of Natural Resources.
HY is short for Haiyang (Ocean). China launched its first ocean monitoring satellite, the HY-1A, on May 15, 2002.
Thursday's launch was the 288th of the Long March rocket series.