The government wants a study on the socio-economic benefits of the Arctic Observing Mission

Illustration of the he Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)-2. Credit: NASA.

The Canadian Space Agency has posted a tender notice for a study on the socio-economic benefits of the Arctic Observing Mission, a possible government of Canada Earth observation mission.

The Earth Arctic Observing Mission would be a follow-on to the Phase 0 study, the Atmospheric Imaging Mission for Northern Regions (AIM-North). The original study was a “constellation of two satellites in a highly elliptical orbit (HEO) formation to provide observations with an unprecedented combination of frequency, density and quality for monitoring greenhouse gases (GHGs), air quality (AQ) and solar induced fluorescence (SIF) from vegetation over land from about 40-80°N, multiple times per day.” Now, as the proposed Arctic Observing Mission, “meteorological and space weather observations” have been added to the scope.

The Arctic Observing Mission is a joint proposed project of the Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and the Canadian Space Agency. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA could be potential partners.

The Principal Investigator is Ray Nassar (ECCC) and according to a government science blog post “in 2017, Nassar led the first study in the world to use satellite observations to quantify CO2 emissions at the scale of an individual power plant. At the time, it was believed that a satellite specifically designed for this task would be required to provide the level of detail necessary. Nassar thought differently. As a science team member of NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2 (OCO-2) mission, he and a student searched the data for observations near power plants.”

In the blog post Nassar explained, “there is an element of chance involved with the current satellite, OCO-2. People often think that satellites observe every point on the Earth, but there are wide gaps between measurements.”

“Despite the gaps, Nassar and his team were able to use modeling together with the satellite data to quantify emissions from a small number of individual power plants to demonstrate that it really was feasible. Their findings showed that improving the satellite design with more detailed observations, could prove to be a powerful tool in quantifying CO2 emissions from power plants or from urban regions where emissions are spatially distributed over a larger area.”

According to the tender posting, the process is open only to 21 pre-defined suppliers. The closing date for submissions from suppliers is April 13, 2022. A 12 month study contract is expected to be awarded.

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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