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China completes in-orbit test of first carbon observatory satellite

Updated: Sep 8,2017 1:56 PM     People’s Daily Online

In-orbit test of China’s first orbiting carbon observatory satellite has been successfully completed, according to China Meteorological Administration.

The satellite transmits signals to the National Satellite Meteorological Center (NSMC) every 1.5 hours from its preset orbit 700 kilometers above Earth.

The satellite, TanSat, was launched on Dec 22, 2016, and has been in space for more than eight months.

As China’s first mission to study carbon dioxide, the satellite examines carbon sources with extremely high precision, tracks the role of carbon dioxide in the carbon cycle, studies variability over time, and helps forecast long-term climate change caused by carbon dioxide emissions.

Different from traditional meteorological satellites, TanSat detects the concentration of carbon dioxide by molecule absorption in the visible and near infrared, said NSMC Deputy Director Zhang Peng.

Equipped with a modularized satellite platform, a hyperspectral carbon monoxide detector, and a multispectral cloud and aerosol detector, the satellite offers very accurate measurements.

It has five modes of observation and is capable of examining from different angles.

The results of the in-orbit test proved that every function of the craft is in good operation and each index of the satellite platform has met requirements, Zhang noted.

Scientists will convert the magnetic signals received from the satellite into visible spectral signals, and then calculate the concentration of the carbon dioxide, Zhang said, adding that the data will be available for all researchers.

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