GHGSat Emission Monitoring Satellite Constellation to be 90% Completed by Year’s End

GHGSat-C3 (“Luca”), C4 (“Penny”), and C5 (“Diako”) microsatellites. Credit: GHGSat.

If the launch schedule holds, by the end of this year GHGSat will have 11 of its initially planned 12 emission monitoring satellites launched.

GHGSat announced today that it will have six more of its emission monitoring small satellites launched by year end. The company currently has six satellites in orbit including including it’s original Claire demonstration satellite launched in 2016.

Three of the satellites, GHGSat-C6, GHGSat-C7, and GHGSat-C8 are scheduled to launch no earlier than April on a SpaceX Falcon 9 Transporter-7 ridershare mission. In announcing the launch of these satellites today, GHGSat said it had named the satellites Mey-Lin (C6), Gaspard (C7) and Océane (C8). The names comes from children of GHGSat employees.

The other three satellite GHGSat-C9, GHGSat-C10, and GHGSat-C11 are scheduled to launch at some point later this year on a Virgin Orbit launch. However, on January 9th Virgin Orbit’s Launcher One suffered a fuel filter failure resulting in the failure of the mission. Having just identified the issue, it is anticipated Virgin Orbit could resume flights as early as mid-year.

With the launch of GHGSat-C10, the company will include the first commercially hosted CO2 payload. To complete its initial constellation, the company will launch GHGSat-C12 likely sometime next year and it too will have CO2 detection capabilities.

It should be noted that GHGSat-C9, GHGSat-C10, and GHGSat-C11 are not satellites owned and operated by the company. In looking at different business options, the company decided to try a “satellite-as-a-service deal.” Spire would build the satellites and host the emission monitoring payload along with other payloads.

When that deal was announced last September, CEO Stephane Germain said “we know how to be a satellite operator, but it’s not our business: our business is to deliver data, insights, and emissions intelligence to our customers.” He added that “as we continue to grow our constellation and grow the number of satellites and payloads we have on orbit, this is a model we wanted to explore.”

Germain said of today’s news, “Every year since our demonstrator satellite Claire was launched in 2016, we’ve pushed the boundaries of emissions monitoring from space. We are driven by our ambition to fight climate change by continuing our role as an independent purveyor of the best methane emissions insight in the world, and as a trusted partner to industry, government and financial services customers.” He added, “The new satellites mean we can dramatically ramp up the number of locations and emissions we can monitor worldwide, including increasing daily monitoring over key oil and gas production sites.”

About Marc Boucher

Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactive LLC. Boucher has 20+ years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 30 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.

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