China’s Long March 2C rocket has launched the China France Oceanography Satellite (CFOSat) into orbit from Jiuquan launch base in Inner Mongolia.

The satellite deployed its solar array 32 minutes after liftoff and entered a sun-synchronous orbit 520km above the Earth.

The satellite has been developed by China National Space Administration (CNSA) and France’s space agency Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) and is expected to provide information on the characteristics of the ocean’s surface and their impact on atmosphere-ocean exchanges that play a major role in the climate system.

CFOSat has already begun its mission to study the ocean’s surface winds and waves simultaneously.

CFOSat is equipped with two radar instruments, including Surface Waves Investigation and Monitoring (SWIM) and wind SCATterometer.

The SWIM instrument has been developed to survey the length, height and direction of waves, while CNSA has developed the SCAT to measure the strength and direction of wind.

“These data will be instrumental in the success of the Space Climate Observatory (SCO), one of the flagship measures in the Paris Declaration adopted by the world’s space agencies.”

Throughout the data exploitation phase, CNSA will be responsible for satellite command-control from its Xi’an control centre.

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CNES will monitor the SWIM instrument from its Toulouse Space Centre in France, while CNSA will observe the SCAT instrument from its mission centre in Beijing, China.

Data to be provided by CFOSat will be received by both the countries through two French receiving stations in Canada and Sweden and three stations in China.

CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall said:  “It was in 2014 that we decided to go ahead with the CFOSat ocean-surveying mission, a major project confirming our nations’ commitment to tackling climate change and the culmination of a unique partnership in this domain.

“CNES and CNSA have constantly combined their efforts in this area ever since. We signed a memorandum of understanding in January this year, in the presence of Presidents Emmanuel Macron and Xi Jinping, to step up this cooperation and encourage wide uptake of CFOSat data.

“These data will be instrumental in the success of the Space Climate Observatory (SCO), one of the flagship measures in the Paris Declaration adopted by the world’s space agencies at the One Planet Summit in December 2017.”