An optical sensor manufactured by specialist ABB has been deployed aboard the recently launched satellite Hugo from GHGSat, a dedicated provider of greenhouse gas-sensing services in space.
ABB says the sensor can map methane emissions from space at a resolution said to be 100 times higher than other units. This means that, while previously only larger regions could be surveyed, the greater granularity of the new sensor now allows the source of emissions to be identified. An additional nine units are currently under manufacture at ABB to be launched by the end of 2022, ready to be on board across the first private satellite constellation dedicated to emission measurement.
GHGSat announced the constellation contract award with ABB in October 2020, with first deliveries in 2021. The unit, recently launched on board a SpaceX rocket, was a single unit procured by GHGSat from ABB two years ago ahead of a selection for the constellation.
With its involvement in the Canadian SCISAT mission and the Japanese GOSAT series of satellites, ABB has been active in the field of greenhouse gas sensing from space for more than two decades. In the case of the SCISAT sensor, this has been used to track long-term subtle composition changes in Earth’s atmosphere down to parts per trillion of more than 70 molecules and pollutants since 2003.