By Vyomi Chheda
Following US and Japan, China became the third country to monitor greenhouse gases with its own satellite. Their 620 kg satellite TanSat was put into orbit by Long March-2D rocket. The operation was carried out from Jiquan Launch Centre in northwest China’s Gobi Desert early Thursday morning. Following a sun-synchronous orbit about 700 km(435 miles) above the earth, it will monitor concentration, distribution and flow of carbon dioxide. On a three-year mission, Tanstat will examine levels every 16 days, accurate to at least 4 parts per million.
The Shanghai Engineering Center for Microsatellites built the 1,366-pound (620-satellite) TanSat spacecraft, which launched with three secondary payloads designed for high-resolution and hyperspectral remote sensing of Earth.
The satellite has different modes for observing oceans and land, and can constantly adjust its orientation and position.
To ensure the accuracy of TanSat, six ground-based observation stations will calibrate and examine observational data. This will prove to be a revolutionary move as US and Japan can collect emission data for their respective countries however, this satellite will provide data for the entire world. Thereby making data easily available and providing a nudge to the climate control steps internationally.
The Paris Agreement on climate change came into force on Nov. 4, 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.
TanSat means a louder voice for China on climate change, carbon reduction and in negotiations with a bigger say on carbon trading.This move followed the lifting of a week long red alert for the worst smog engulfing over 40 Chinese cities. With problems of pollution reaching historic peaks, it was about time for China to take a mega step in this direction.