China will launch a new meteorological satellite in the second half of this year, which will be capable of detecting auroras, the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) announced Thursday. The satellite, the country’s fourth Fengyun-III meteorological satellite, is expected to improve weather disaster forecasting ability as well as environmental monitoring.

Compared with its previous three Fengyun-IIIs, the new one will be more reliable, stable and accurate, as it will be equipped with several new remote sensors, according to CASC scientist Zhu Wei. The new satellite will carry sensors to detect changes in auroras and the ionosphere, and a microwave imager to provide constant all-weather monitoring of global weather indicators, Zhu said.

China plans to launch another four Fengyun-IIIs in the future, helping shorten the interval between world weather forecast updates from six hours to four hours and double the frequency of updates for weather disaster monitoring. Fengyun satellites are a series of remote-sensing meteorological satellites developed by China. Fengyun-I and Fengyun-III are polar orbiting weather satellites, while Fengyun-II and Fengyun-IV operate in geostationary orbit. Previously, China has successfully launched 15 weather satellites.