MethaneSAT Launched to Track Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Space

MethaneSAT promises new era of transparency and accountability in fight against global warming

In a major development for climate action, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) announced today the successful launch and deployment of MethaneSAT, a groundbreaking satellite designed to monitor and quantify global methane emissions.

MethaneSAT, which launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, is the first satellite specifically designed to track methane, a potent greenhouse gas with over 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide in the short term. The satellite will provide crucial data to help countries, companies, and individuals track progress towards methane reduction goals.

“Cutting methane pollution is the single fastest way to slow the rate of warming as we work to decarbonize our energy systems,” said EDF President Fred Krupp. “MethaneSAT will show us the full scope of the opportunity by tracking emissions to their source.”

MethaneSAT boasts several key features:

High-resolution, wide-area viewing: Unlike previous satellites, MethaneSAT can see and quantify total methane emissions over vast areas, including smaller sources that contribute significantly to overall emissions.

Unprecedented sensitivity: The satellite can measure changes in methane concentrations as small as three parts per billion.

Transparency and accessibility: Data from MethaneSAT will be freely available to the public through the organization’s website and Google Earth Engine, empowering stakeholders to hold actors accountable and track progress towards emission reduction goals.

The launch of MethaneSAT comes at a critical time. Over 150 countries have signed the Global Methane Pledge, committing to a 30% reduction in methane emissions by 2030. Additionally, dozens of companies have pledged to virtually eliminate methane emissions from their operations.

MethaneSAT is expected to play a vital role in verifying these commitments and accelerating progress towards a cleaner, more sustainable future.

Dr. Kelly Levin, Chief of Science, Data and Systems Change at the Bezos Earth Fund: “MethaneSAT changes the equation, putting science and data front and center. From the sky, it can see what others can’t, helping good actors and holding bad actors accountable.”

Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Climate Ambition and Solutions: “Data from this satellite will help us to better measure methane emissions and target their sources, bringing more transparency to the problem, giving companies and investors the information they need to take action, and empowering the public to hold people accountable.”

MethaneSAT was developed by a subsidiary of EDF in partnership with the New Zealand Space Agency. The satellite was built by BAE Systems and Blue Canyon Technologies.