Ball Aerospace and Korea Aerospace Research Institute’s Geostationary Environment Monitoring Spectrometer (GEMS) instrument was launched into space.

Integrated onto GEO-KOMPSAT-2B satellite, the GEMS will serve as the first air quality sensor in geostationary orbit and help monitor pollution events in the Korean peninsula and Asia-Pacific region once operational.

Ball Aerospace civil space president and general manager Dr Makenzie Lystrup 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.”

The satellite will take hourly measurements of the major constituents of air pollution, including ozone and nitrogen dioxide. GEMS will also provide early warnings on dangerous pollution events.

GEMS is part of the global air quality monitoring constellation of geostationary satellites, which also include Nasa’s Tropospheric Emissions, Monitoring of Pollution (TEMPO) spectrometer.

TEMPO was built by Ball for Nasa Langley Research Centre and Harvard Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and is scheduled for launch in 2022.

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In September 2019, Ball Aerospace completed the development of the Operational Land Imager 2 (OLI-2) for Landsat 9.

Last July, the company also commissioned Nasa’s Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) and started on-orbit testing of a non-toxic, high-performance propellant.