Enviros launch satellite to monitor world’s methane leaks from oil and gas sites


A new satellite is orbiting the earth with one goal in mind—to measure the amount of methane emissions from oil and gas companies in Oklahoma, the U.S. and the rest of the world.

It was sent into space not by the federal government but by an environmental group that is also not friendly with the oil and gas industry.

MethaneSAT, as it is called, was built by the Environmental Defense Fund which is also operating the satellite. It lifted off this week from California’s Vandenberg Space Force Base with a mission of tracking the climate-heating methane emissions. Sort of like a “spy in the sky.”

The size of a washing machine, the satellite was one of 53 payloads on what is called SpaceX’s Transporter-10 rideshare mission.

Proponents contend the satellite is designed to help policymakers verify industry reports by finding hotspots of methane. It is also described as the first such satellite by a nonprofit environmental group to collect data about methane leaks. At least 300 targets around the world will be monitored by the satellite as it circles the earth 15 times a day from an orbit 360 miles above the earth.

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