China on 22 December 2016 launched TanSat satellite, a global carbon dioxide monitoring satellite, to understand the climate change.
This 620-kg satellite was put into orbit by Long March-2D rocket from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China's Gobi Desert. China is the third country to monitor greenhouse gases through its own satellite after Japan and the US.
This was the 243rd mission of the Long March series rockets. Besides TanSat, the rocket also launched a high-resolution micro-nano satellite and two spectrum micro-nano satellites for agricultural and forestry monitoring.
Highlights of the TanSat satellite
• The chief designer of TanSat is Yin Zengshan who works at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).
• The satellite was sent into a sun synchronous orbit about 700 kms above the earth.
• It will monitor the concentration, distribution and flow of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere.
• It has a very good vision and can distinguish as small as 1 percent changes in atmospheric CO2.
• It will help understanding the climate change and will provide China's policy makers with independent data.
• On a three-year mission, the satellite will systematically observe global carbon dioxide levels every 16 days in such a manner that that the observances are accurate to at least 4 ppm (parts per million).
• It will enable China to obtain emissions data at first-hand to share it with researchers worldwide.
• It can trace the sources of greenhouse gases and will help evaluate whether the countries are fulfilling their commitments or not.
The satellite was launched after the country lifted a week-long red alert for the worst smog that surrounded around 40 cities in the country.
The red alert was lifted as the cold air dispersed the smog that had been affecting the city since 17 December 2016.