As part of the global effort to combat climate change, MBIE is participating in the MethaneSAT mission. It’s New Zealand’s first official space mission as a country.
About the MethaneSAT mission
Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that contributes significantly to the amount of warming that we are experiencing. New Zealand is participating in the MethaneSAT mission as part of the global effort to combat climate change.
MethaneSAT is a state-of-the-art satellite designed to detect global methane emissions with unprecedented accuracy. The MethaneSAT satellite is unique because it can measure over a large area and focus on specific targets.
MethaneSAT LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Environmental Defence Fund (EDF), is building the satellite. They intend to use the data generated by the satellite to catalyse a reduction in methane emissions from oil and gas infrastructure by at least 45 percent by 2025. In addition to oil and gas, MethaneSAT also has the potential to assess emissions from a range of anthropogenic methane sources, including agriculture.
In 2019, MBIE signed an agreement with MethaneSAT LLC and EDF to collaborate on the mission.
This investment will build important capability in our space sector, enable New Zealand researchers to work with world-leading atmospheric scientists, and make an important contribution to slowing global warming.
We are making 2 main contributions to the MethaneSAT mission:
- An Atmospheric science programme, funded from Catalyst: Strategic over 4 years.
- A Mission Operations Control Centre, funded from the Strategic Science Investment Fund.
The funds for this investment were made available through reprioritisation of funding across the Research, Science and Innovation portfolio.
Atmospheric science programme
Catalyst: Strategic will fund a science project to investigate how the data could be used to better understand methane emissions from the agricultural sector, including agricultural emissions in New Zealand.
See Catalyst: Strategic – MethaneSAT atmospheric science project for more information on the project.
Mission Operations Control Centre
The Mission Operations Control Centre (MOCC) will include a physical facility that will be hosted at a New Zealand university and a sophisticated cloud-based platform. It will provide a set of functional capabilities for the monitoring, control and support of the satellite.
See Mission Operations Control Centre for more information on the facility.
World Space Week 2020 MethaneSAT interview
Dr Peter Crabtree, Head of the NZ Space Agency, Dr Sara Mikaloff-Fletcher, Lead Researcher for the mission and Steven Hamburg, Chief Scientist, EDF, talk with Haritina Mogosanu, Executive Director, NZ Astrobiology Network about MethaneSAT, during World Space Week 2020.