NASA taps choice to deploy space-based pollution monitoring instrument

NASA taps choice to deploy space-based pollution monitoring instrument

Technology News |
By Rich Pell

The company says that it will integrate and fly NASA’s Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution (TEMPO) UV-visible spectrometer on a 1300-class satellite in geostationary (GEO) orbit. TEMPO will be the first space-based instrument to provide hourly monitoring of major air pollutants during the daytime across the North American continent at high spatial resolution.

Observing Earth from about 22,000 miles above its equator, TEMPO will detect pollutants by measuring sunlight reflected and scattered from Earth’s surface and atmosphere and will be the North American component of a global group of satellites tracking air pollution from geosynchronous orbit. The resulting data will be used to enhance air quality forecasts in North America, enabling more effective early public warning of pollution incidents.

“Maxar has more than half a century of experience developing and operating satellites and advanced infrastructure to unlock the promise of space for customers around the world,” says Megan Fitzgerald, Maxar’s Senior Vice President and General Manager of Space Solutions. “We have a long history of building meteorological spacecraft and instruments, including eight Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite Program (GOES) satellites for NASA. We’re proud to collaborate with NASA on TEMPO, which will provide critical insights on air pollution to enable impactful solutions for a better world.”

Kelly Chance, Principal Investigator, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, which is a collaboration partner with NASA on TEMPO, adds, “Finding the right commercial partner to integrate our payload was of utmost importance to us, and Maxar’s strong legacy in bridging commercial and government needs made it the perfect candidate. TEMPO will revolutionize the way NASA samples and analyzes critical air quality measurements. Critical partners in the analyses of TEMPO data include the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), plus U.S. universities and foreign partners, including Mexico and Canada.”

Maxar previously completed a study to accommodate TEMPO on a commercial GEO satellite. The instrument is currently slated for launch by 2022.

Maxar Technologies

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