All in-orbit tests of China's first orbiting carbon observatory satellite, TanSat, which means "carbon" in Chinese, have been successfully completed, according to the China Meteorological Administration.
As China's first mission intended to provide global space-based observations of atmospheric carbon dioxide, TanSat was launched on December 22, 2016. It is tasked to monitor 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.
Carrying instruments including a high-resolution grating spectrometer and a wide-field imaging spectrometer, the satellite 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.
As a key part of China's space program, TanSat is expected to track China's regional as well as global concentrations of carbon dioxide, generating monthly geographic distributions of carbon dioxide sources and compare data with the one acquired by NASA'S environmental satellite, Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2.
During the past nine months, TanSat successfully completed various tests, such as simultaneous observation experiments cooperating with ground meteorological centers and lunar calibration tests. At the same time, TanSat detects the concentration of carbon dioxide by a new spectroscopic technology called molecule absorption, which is quite different from previous traditional meteorological satellites, said NSMC Deputy Director Zhang Peng.
In fact, TanSat mission was proposed in the Chinese national program in 2010 and officially approved in 2011. Its successful launch is considered as an effort to "enhance China's voice in global climate change issues", according to the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
TanSat is expected to operate in orbit for at least three years and the observation data will be available for all global researchers, said Zhang.