Rocket Lab will play a critical role in the international climate change mission by developing a Mission Operations Control Center (MOCC) for MethaneSAT in Auckland, New Zealand, the company said.
MethaneSAT is a satellite mission created to foster and accelerate reductions in the emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas responsible for at least a quarter of today’s planetary warming.
Led by the non-profit Environmental Defense Fund, the 350 kg class MethaneSAT will locate and measure methane from the oil, gas, and agriculture industries around the globe, enabling regulators, businesses, and researchers to track and reduce emissions faster, Rocket Lab said.
With a highly sensitive spectrometer capable of detecting methane concentrations as low as two parts per billion, MethaneSAT will quantify and report emissions in near real-time from sources large and small, providing regular monitoring of regions accounting for more than 80% of global oil and gas production, Rocket Lab added.
MethaneSAT will publish data free of charge so that stakeholders and the public can compare progress by both companies and countries.
The Mission Operations Control Center for MethaneSAT will be functional by mid-2022, ahead of on-orbit operations expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2022.