Thursday September 10, 2020
BOULDER — Just six months after preliminary design review, Ball Aerospace announced it successfully completed critical design review (CDR) of the MethaneSAT flight system and advanced spectrometer instrument that will be integrated onto a 350-kilogram satellite for MethaneSAT, LLC, a subsidiary of the nonprofit Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).
The completion of CDR enables Ball to proceed into part fabrication and assembly.
“MethaneSAT aligns with Ball’s commitment to earth science, sustainability and delivering science at any scale,” said Dr. Makenzie Lystrup, VP and GM, Civil Space, Ball Aerospace.
“We have worked closely and collaboratively with the customer and other partners to develop extremely sensitive sensor technology critical to spotting methane emissions that previously would have gone undetected.”
The Ball-designed MethaneSAT Instrument will measure a narrow part of the shortwave infrared spectrum where methane absorbs light, allowing it to detect concentrations as low as two parts per billion.
From Low-Earth Orbit, the satellite will locate and measure emissions of methane sources almost anywhere on Earth with precision and at fine enough detail to identify these sources.
The mission is expected to launch in 2022 to support EDF’s stated goal of achieving a 45 percent reduction in methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 2025.
“This is a complex, technically challenging mission driven by the profound urgency of climate change,” said Cassandra Ely, director at MethaneSAT LLC..
“An intensive design process up front ensures that we can move quickly from here. The result is a more powerful measurement tool than even we thought possible.
“Thanks to the dedicated efforts of our mission partners, MethaneSAT is now moving from the drawing boards and onto the assembly floor.”
Ball has more than six decades of experience providing leading-edge systems, delivering instruments that span the electromagnetic spectrum for a wide range of government and commercial applications to help predict the weather, map air quality and monitor the Earth’s environment.