On 21st December 2016, China launched TanSat, also known as CarbonSat, which is a Chinese Earth observation satellite dedicated to monitor carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere.
- The 620-kg satellite TanSat was put into orbit by Long March-2D rocket from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China’s Gobi Desert .
- This was the 243rd mission of the Long March series rockets. Besides TanSat, the rocket also carried a high-resolution micro-nano satellite and two spectrum micro-nano satellites for agricultural and forestry monitoring.
- China is the third country after Japan and the US to monitor greenhouse gases through its own satellite. The satellite was sent into a sun synchronous orbit about 700 kms above the earth and will monitor the concentration, distribution and flow of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere.
- On its three-year mission, TanSat will thoroughly examine global carbon dioxide levels every 16 days, accurate to at least 4 ppm (parts per million).
- The launching of satellite is an effort towards China’s commitment to the Paris agreement on climate change with more than 100 countries committed to reducing their carbon emissions.
- The satellite can trace the sources of greenhouse gases and help evaluate whether countries are fulfilling their commitments.
- It is funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and was built by the Shanghai Institute of Microsystem And Information Technology (SIMIT).
- TanSat carries two instruments: the Carbon Dioxide Spectrometer and the Cloud and Aerosol Polarimetry Imager.