The Canadian satellite is on its expedition of analyzing the excesses of methane that the industries are releasing into the atmosphere leading to climate change. The satellite, Iris, was part of the 53 satellites composing the European Vega rocket launch payload. Iris enjoyed the company of satellites from the other 12 countries in a takeoff at the Kourou deployment site in French Guiana.
The deployment of this payload of satellites had been slated for March, but the pandemic, coupled with lousy weather, overwhelmed the rocket’s launch pushing it to last Wednesday. The previously set date changed to last week after the Pacific storms approaching South Korea and hindering the Vega rocket’s supervision from the tracking facility in this region.
The chief executive of GHGSat Inc., Stéphane Germain, said that they have been waiting for a long time to see Iris’s launch into space to detect gases in the Earth’s atmosphere. GHGSat Inc. was one of the financiers of the Iris project. Dr Germain expressed his satisfaction with the satellite’s deployment into its orbit and is ready to receive the details from this satellite in the coming weeks.
Dr Germain and his technicians witnessed the rocket hosting Iris deployment in a zoom meeting and was happy to hear that it had reached space. This satellite’s success will help the Canadian aerospace firm mark its niche in the space industry as a firm that develops satellite payloads for detecting greenhouse gases from space.
GHGSat has been in the space industry for the last decade and has decided to avail reliable data from space. This firm deployed its Claire satellite four years ago, whose purpose was to detect carbon dioxide and methane using the Fabry-Perot spectrometer. This spectrometer works with the phenomenon that these gases can absorb some light spectra. The firm’s research and development department took its battle to design a versatile and portable spectrometer in a small satellite.
Claire’s first notable data was when it detected a mass of methane gas projecting from a gas plant in Turkmenistan. This leakage attained resolution after the firm making a publication of this news. Dr. Germain recommends the scrapping off all ICE cars to combat the rising and visible effects of global warming.
Iris will be watched keenly to evaluate if its performance exceeds Claire’s performance as anticipated by projecting the data of methane detection collected. This move implies that Iris has to widen its scope of imaging and detection to even the remotest of places if the area is an emission zone. If the satellite achieves this, it will attract commercial customers like gas industries and act as sources of data for environmental agencies that have waged war against pollutive industries.
Although methane is not a primary contributor to global warming, its current quantities in the atmosphere exceed the standard levels, which can play a role in the climate change problem. Therefore, monitoring methane’s level in the atmosphere can help detect leaking gases from the gas depots and industries and help resolve this problem at its infant stage.
To conclude, Daniel Zimmerle of the Methane Emissions Technology Evaluation Center at Colorado State University says that since this gas is controllable, it should stay controlled and not spill out of proportions into the atmosphere. He added that this detection mechanism would help companies intending to secure gas suppliers to check if the firm they are choosing complies with the stipulated regulations.