Governor Jerry Brown announced today that California is planning to launch a satellite to monitor air pollution with the help from Planet in the state and contribute to climate science.
The state is collaborating with satellite imagery purveyor Planet to create a custom draft to define and stop harmful emissions with exceptional precision, on a scale that’s never been done before.
In the closing remarks of the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, Governor Brown made the announcement, echoing a word of honor made two years ago to scientists at the American Geophysical Union’s 2016 meeting.
According to Brown, the aim of launching our own damn satellite is because of the increasing climatic threat and the science still under the attack.
In the last few years, the planet which has launched hundreds of satellites in order to provide near-real-time imagery of practically anywhere on Earth will develop and operate the satellite. The plan is to gear it up with sensors that can detect the pollutants at their point sources, whether they are artificial or natural. That kind of direct observation allows the direct action.
The technical detailing of the satellite is to be announced as the project move ahead and solidifies. We can probably expect something like a 6U CubeSat loaded with types of equipment focused on detecting certain gases and particulates.
An orbit with the satellite passing crosswise the whole state along its north/south axis looks most likely; a single draft resting at one place probably wouldn’t give enough coverage. A particular said multiple satellites are also an established possibility.
As per the president of the Environmental Defense Fund, Fred Krupp, “The new era of environmental innovation is defined through these satellite technologies which is supercharging our ability to solve problems.” He added, “They won’t cut emissions by themselves, but they will make invisible pollution visible and generate the transparent, actionable, data we need to protect our health, our environment, and our economies.”
The EDF (Environmental Defense Fund) is launching its own satellite to that end (MethaneSAT), but will also be participating with California creating a shared Climate Data Partnership, assuring the data from these sources is universally accessible.
More partners are expected to join up now that the effort is public, although none were named in the press release.
The effort is still at some distance from the launch – these things take time, of course. But the Planet has certainly proved its capability of designing and launching on a relatively shorter timeframe.
In fact, it just opened gates to a brand new facility in San Francisco dedicated to pushing out new satellites.