MethaneSAT LLC is a nonprofit organization, subsidiary of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) that aims to protect Earth’s ecosystems. MethaneSAT is building satellites to monitor methane levels in our planet’s atmosphere. On Wednesday, January 13, MethaneSAT announced it signed a contract with SpaceX to deploy a satellite to orbit atop a Falcon 9 rocket. The organization shared the methane detector satellite is now under construction ‘after completing an intensive design process.’
“This is a unique mission on an ambitious timeline,” said Dr. Steven Hamburg, MethaneSAT project co-lead in a press release. “SpaceX offers the readiness and reliability we need to deliver our instrument into orbit and begin streaming emissions data as soon as possible. We couldn’t ask for a more capable launch partner.” Currently, the organization targets to launch the MethaneSAT satellite aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 no earlier than October 1st of the year 2022.
The satellite will be capable of providing more data on methane, than other global mapping instruments currently in use, according to MethaneSAT. The satellite data platform will feature the capability of automating ‘complex analytics’ used to determine how much methane is being released across a geographic region. The automated analytics will enable researchers to receive reliable data ‘in just a few days'. The non-profit organization says it plans to make its satellite data available at no charge for non-commercial researchers. “Making methane emissions data for oil and gas infrastructure across the globe freely available will create unprecedented transparency, giving stakeholders and the public a vital window on the progress toward emission reduction goals,” MethaneSAT states.
“Reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas industry is the fastest, most cost-effective way we have to slow the rate of warming right now, even as we continue to decarbonize the energy system,” said Mark Brownstein, EDF Senior Vice President for Energy. “MethaneSAT is designed to create transparency and accountability to make sure companies and governments don’t miss that opportunity.”
“Cutting human-made methane emissions is increasingly recognized by scientists, policymakers and the oil and gas industry as a necessary element of any successful climate strategy. Measurements taken by MethaneSAT will enable both companies and governments to locate, quantify and track methane emissions from oil and gas operations worldwide, and use that data to reduce emissions of the highly potent greenhouse gas,” organization representatives wrote on Wednesday. Learn more in the video below.
Featured Image Source: MethaneSAT
About the Author
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.