Japan Launches Greenhouse Gas Observing Satellite

Japan launches greenhouse gas observing satellite

Japan has launched a new satellite to observe greenhouse gases. Ibuki-2, also known as GOSAT-2, will survey carbon dioxide and other global warming gases with greater precision than its predecessor.

An H2A rocket carrying the satellite lifted off from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan, at 1:08 PM on Monday.

The satellite was put into orbit 16 minutes later at the planned altitude of around 613 kilometers.

Ibuki-2 was developed by the Environment Ministry, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and the National Institute for Environmental Studies. The satellite is 5.8 meters long and weighs 1.8 tons.

Ibuki-2 will observe carbon dioxide, methane and carbon monoxide by using high-performance sensors that detect the infrared rays specific to each gas.

The satellite can measure carbon dioxide levels 8 times more accurately than its predecessor, Ibuki, which was launched in 2009.

Ibuki-2 can distinguish between carbon dioxide that occurs naturally and the CO2 created by industrial activities. It can also gather the data needed to estimate the density of hazardous PM 2.5 particles.

The satellite will begin full-scale observations in about 2-and-a-half months.

The Japanese government says Ibuki-2 will also monitor the greenhouse gas reductions mandated by the Paris Accord.

The H2A rocket also carried an Earth observation satellite from the United Arab Emirates. This was Japan's third launch of a foreign satellite.