Multichannel company Ball Aerospace has announced that the advanced spectrometer instrument for the MethaneSAT flight system will soon enter its critical design phase.

This follows the successful completion of the preliminary design review (PDR).

MethaneSAT aims to locate and measure the emission of methane from oil and gas facilities across the globe.

MethaneSAT, which is a subsidiary of non-profit organisation Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), is expected to launch the 350kg satellite in 2022.

The new satellite will be able to measure methane emissions at predetermined spots and map them over large areas.

Ball Aerospace was selected to build the satellite’s dual-spectrometer instrument.

Ball Aerospace Civil Space vice-president and general manager Dr Makenzie Lystrup said: “We are excited to be a part of a mission that aims to study and address the impact of methane on the environment and climate.

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“MethaneSAT fits well with Ball’s long history of earth science, our commitment to sustainability and our experience in providing highly calibrated measurements of environmental factors related to ozone, weather and pollution.”

The instrument is equipped with two extremely sensitive spectrometers, which can measure the shortwave infrared spectrum where methane absorbs light.

The spectrometers can detect concentrations as low as two parts per billion.

As well as the MethaneSAT instrument, Ball Aerospace is also offering flight system integration, testing, launch support and commissioning services.

Environmental Defense Fund chief scientist Dr Steven Hamburg said: “MethaneSAT is built around a set of high-performance technologies and sophisticated analytics tools that, when combined, provide a major leap in our ability to measure and quantify even low-level methane emissions across the globe from space.”

Ball Aerospace’s Geostationary Environment Monitoring Spectrometer (GEMS) instrument was integrated onto the GEO-KOMPSAT-2B satellite, which was launched earlier this week.