China applies fine wind forecast system to ensure spacecraft-rocket transfer


Photo taken on May 7, 2022 shows the combination of the Tianzhou 4 cargo spacecraft and a Long March-7 Y5 carrier rocket in South China's Hainan province. [Photo/VCG]

WENCHANG, Hainan -- China has for the first time realized the fine forecast of Earth's near-surface wind for a major space launch mission, according to the Xichang Satellite Launch Center.

The fine forecast system for wind in key areas of the near-surface layer has been applied to ensure the transfer of the combination of the Tianzhou 4 cargo spacecraft and the Long March-7 Y5 carrier rocket to the launching area of the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site, the center said.

The system was developed by the meteorological tech support team of the center to overcome challenges from the Earth's near-surface wind, which has a great impact on the smooth vertical transfer of spacecraft and rockets.

As the rocket has not been filled with fuel before being transferred to the launch site, it is easily affected by wind, especially in the coastal regions, which makes the precise forecast of near-surface wind very important for the transfer.

Located in South China's Hainan province, the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site is the country's fourth launch site and the only one by the seaside.

The forecast system can provide real-time visual weather forecasts based on the latest meteorological information of the near-surface wind, with three-dimensional simulation images as well as change parameters of wind power and direction.

The system has been developed since 2018, and it passed the final inspection and acceptance in April this year.

According to the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, the new forecast system performed well during its first application in the transfer mission of Tianzhou 4 and Long March-7 Y5.

Its forecast precision is within one meter and it has played an important role in enhancing the meteorological forecast capabilities of the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site, the center said.

The Tianzhou 4 cargo spacecraft will be launched in the near future at an appropriate time, according to the China Manned Space Agency.

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