Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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China Poised to Attain 25 Successful Satellite Launches in 2016; a New National Record for a Single Year

Record year

(Photo : PLA) To be launched in December 2016: Fengyyun-4A. Jilin-1 and TanSat.

China will cap its most successful year in spaceflight in December with the launch of at least six more satellites, bringing to 25 the number of satellites orbited in 2016.

This number will be a national record for the most number of successful launches in a single calendar year.

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China's latest success was the orbiting on Nov. 22 of the Tianlian 1-04 geosynchronous satellite, another satellite in a constellation of four that enables communications with its orbiting spacecraft and the Tiangong-2 space station.

The four satellites in the Tianlian-class of tracking and data relay satellites (TDRS) provide close to real-time communications between ground control and spacecraft. They enhance communication coverage with manned Shenzhou missions from Shenzhou 7 onwards and are indispensable in this role.

To be launched in December will be the first of six Fengyun-4A geostationary weather satellites on Dec. 11; TanSat or CarbonSat that will monitor carbon dioxide; the Jilin-1 "commercial remote sensing satellite," and three other satellites to be orbited along with Jilin-1, each with a different function.

Fungyun-4A is part of China's geostationary meteorological satellite program called Fengyun-4 (FY-4). It's the second generation of this class and will replace the earlier FY-2 series. Fengyun-4A will blast-off from the Xichang Launch Center.

The second Fengyun satellite, FY-4B, will launch in 2018 and the third, FY-4C, in 2020. No launch dates have been announced for FY-4D, FY-4E and FY-4F. The FY-4 sats have a lifespan of five years.

TanSat is the first Chinese mini-satellite dedicated to detection and monitoring of carbon dioxide (CO2). Funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology, TanSat will carry two main CO2 detection instruments.

The first is CarbonSpec, a high-resolution CO2 spectrometer for measuring the near-infrared absorption by CO2 and the second is the Cloud and Aerosol Polarimetry Imager (CAPI) to compensate CO2 measurement errors by high-resolution measurements of clouds and aerosols.

A spy satellite, Jilin-1 is a high-definition optical satellite equipped with a 0.72 meter resolution pan-chromatic camera and 4 meter resolution multi-spectral camera. It will operate as part of a constellation of four satellites.

The other three satellites in this spy satellite constellation are LQSat, which will carry an experimental imager with a ground resolution of 5 meters and Lingqiao A and B, two remote sensing video spy satellites designed to capture videos with a ground resolution of 1.3 meters.

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