Tue. Jan 26th, 2021
Illustration: MethaneSAT in orbit

Billionaires and Musk are often rivals on the ultimate frontier, however they each have a task to play in , a privately backed satellite tv for pc mission geared toward monitoring methane emissions.

Final November, the Bezos Earth Fund made a $100 million grant to the Environmental Defense Fund to help the satellite tv for pc’s completion and . That grant was a part of a $791 million round that Bezos mentioned was “just the start of my $10 billion dedication” to handle challenges introduced on by local weather change.

Now MethaneSAT LLC — a subsidiary of Environmental Protection Fund — is saying that it’s signed a contract with Musk’s to ship the satellite tv for pc into orbit on a Falcon 9 rocket by as early as October 2022.


“It is a distinctive mission on an bold timeline,” Steven Hamburg, co-lead for the MethaneSAT challenge, said in a news release issued January 13th. “SpaceX presents the readiness and reliability we have to ship our instrument into orbit and start streaming emissions information as quickly as potential. We couldn’t ask for a extra succesful launch associate.”

MethaneSAT is designed to fill an necessary area of interest within the effort to find and scale back industrial emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse fuel. Methane emissions are thought of the second-largest cause of global warming, with a lot of the priority specializing in the oil and fuel business.

Consultants estimate that reducing methane emissions from the oil and fuel business 45% by the yr 2025 would have the identical 20-year local weather profit as shutting down one-third of the world’s coal-fired energy crops.

The thought behind MethaneSAT was unveiled in a TED Talk given by EDF President Fred Krupp in Vancouver, B.C., in 2018. That kicked off an effort that drew upon seed from The Audacious Project, a TED initiative. Final September, MethaneSAT announced the completion of the project’s critical design review and moved into the challenge’s manufacturing stage.

Different satellites comparable to TROPOMI and GHGSat’s commercial constellation are already monitoring atmospheric methane ranges, however MethaneSAT is predicted to supply larger sensitivity and higher spatial decision than TROPOMI, and a a lot wider area of view than the GHGSat spacecraft. The mission’s managers plan to stream MethaneSAT’s information on-line at no cost for non-commercial customers.

Information from MethaneSAT and the opposite satellites ought to assist corporations and governments focus their efforts to scale back emissions.

“Lowering methane emissions from the oil and fuel business is the quickest, most cost-effective means we now have to sluggish the speed of warming proper now, whilst we proceed to decarbonize the power system,” mentioned Mark Brownstein, EDF’s senior vp for power. “MethaneSAT is designed to create transparency and accountability to verify corporations and governments don’t miss that chance.”

SpaceX mentioned the satellite tv for pc launch will likely be organized by means of its SmallSat Rideshare Program, which offers common alternatives to place small-scale payloads into orbit at a worth as little as $1 million.

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