Ball Aerospace built air quality instrument goes into space

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The Geostationary Environment Monitoring Spectrometer jointly developed by Ball Aerospace and the Korea Aerospace Research Institute successfully launched on February 18, 2020.

Once operational in space, it will be the first air-quality sensor in geostationary orbit, where it will help monitor pollution events in the Korean peninsula and Asia-Pacific region.

Dr Makenzie Lystrup, vice president and general manager – civil space at Ball Aerospace, said, “GEMS is a result of more than 30 years of innovation in advanced spectrometers at Ball Aerospace. Data from GEMS will enable KARI’s mission to assess and forecast air pollution by identifying sources and distribution of pollutants in the atmosphere.”

Ball Aerospace led development under a contract with KARI for the National Institute of Environmental Research in the Ministry of Environment of South Korea.

GEMS will make hourly measurements of key constituents that make up air pollution, including ozone and nitrogen dioxide.

It is one part of a global air quality monitoring constellation of geostationary satellites that will include NASA’s Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution (TEMPO) spectrometer.

Ball completed TEMPO in September 2018 for NASA Langley Research Center and Harvard Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.

TEMPO is scheduled to launch in 2022.

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