Blue Canyon's atmosphere observation satellite to detect methane emissions

April 11, 2024
MethaneSAT is the first satellite funded by a nonprofit organization to accelerate more effective efforts to reduce emissions of methane.

LAFAYETTE, Colo. - RTX company Blue Canyon Technologies in Lafayette, Colo., a small satellite manufacturer and missions services provider, announced the successful launch of its space vehicle MethaneSAT.

MethaneSAT is the first satellite funded by a nonprofit organization to accelerate more effective efforts to reduce methane emissions, a greenhouse pollutant responsible for about 30 percent of today's global warming.

Blue Canyon provided its largest small satellite platform, the Saturn-class bus, integrated with infrared spectrometers that will be used to detect the colorless and odorless gas methane. This is the fifth Blue Canyon Saturn-class platform to launch and operate on-orbit successfully. Blue Canyon's platform offers secure data handling, guidance, and navigation with a 200-kg payload capacity.

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"Blue Canyon Technologies' proven technical solutions will support this critical mission for the future of our planet and the continued exploration of Earth sciences," said Chris Winslett, general manager for Blue Canyon Technologies.

MethaneSAT LLC, the organization behind the satellite, is a subsidiary of the nonprofit Environmental Defense Fund.  The donor-funded mission will provide global, high-resolution detection and quantification of methane emissions.

"MethaneSAT is a unique and demanding mission that will provide essential data we believe no other satellite can provide," said Dr. Steven Hamburg, MethaneSAT Executive Manager and Project Lead. "Blue Canyon Technologies was selected as a best-in-class bus provider and has been a critical partner in bringing this project to fruition."

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Research says that cutting methane emissions from fossil fuel operations, agriculture, and other sectors as quickly as possible using existing solutions could slow the rate of warming by as much as 30 percent, which is important while working to decarbonize the energy system. Data from MethaneSAT will help policymakers and industry find and fix the problem faster and more effectively.

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