China completes in-orbit tests of its first carbon observatory satellite, TanSat

China has completed all in-orbit tests of its first carbon observatory satellite, TanSat, CGTN reported citing the China Meteorological Administration (CMA).

TanSat, which means “carbon” in Chinese was launched on December 22, 2016, and was the first Chinese mission intended to provide global space-based observations of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

The tests included simultaneous observation experiments cooperating with ground meteorological centers and lunar calibration tests.

The satellite is capable of monitoring the carbon dioxide variation in Earth’s atmosphere on seasonal time scales, improving the understanding of the global carbon dioxide distribution as well as its contribution to the climate change. It carries instruments including a high-resolution grating spectrometer and a wide-field imaging spectrometer.

TanSat has the ability to transmit signals to China’s National Satellite Meteorological Center (NSMC) every 1.5 hours from its preset orbit 700 kilometers above the Earth.

According to NSMC Deputy Director Zhang Peng, TanSat detects the concentration of carbon dioxide by a new spectroscopic technology called molecule absorption, which is quite different from previous traditional meteorological satellites.

It will generate monthly geographic distributions of carbon dioxide sources and compare data with the one acquired by NASA’S environmental satellite, Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2 (OCO-2).

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