BEIJING, 22nd December, 2016 (WAM) — China launched a carbon dioxide monitoring satellite via a ‘Long March-2D’ rocket from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China’s Gobi Desert on Thursday.

According to the Xinhua News Agency, China is the third country after Japan and the United States to monitor greenhouse gases through its own satellite.

The 620-kg satellite TanSat was sent into a sun synchronous orbit about 700 kilometers above the earth and will monitor the concentration, distribution and flow of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, said Yin Zengshan, Chief Designer of TanSat at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Micro-Satellite Research Institute.

The satellite will help understanding of climate change and provide China’s policy makers with independent data.

On a three-year mission, TanSat will thoroughly examine global CO2 levels every 16 days, accurate to at least 4 ppm (parts per million).

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.