SpaceX Falcon9 rocket launched MethaneSAT from California to track and measure methane emissions at a global scale. 

More on the news

  • The satellite is designed by scientists from the nonprofit Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) partnered with Harvard University, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, and the New Zealand Space Agency.
  • Satellite is backed by Alphabet Inc’s Google and the Environmental Defense Fund group.
  • It is the first of several satellites built to publicly track oil and gas companies’ methane emissions.
  • It will monitor areas that supply 80 percent of the world’s natural gas.

Why need to track Methane?

  • Methane is the second largest contributor to global warming, after carbon dioxide
  • It is responsible for 30 per cent of global heating since the Industrial Revolution.

Key Highlights of MethaneSAT

  • The satellite will orbit the Earth 15 times a day.
  • The data collected by Satellite will be made free for public in near real-time.
  • It is equipped with a high-resolution infrared sensor and a spectrometer, the satellite will fill critical data gaps.
  • It also has a wide-camera view of about 200 km by 200 km allowing it to identify larger emitters so-called “super emitters”.
  • It helps in the Global Methane Pledge in 2021, to cut their collective methane emissions by at least 30 percent from 2020 levels by 2030.


  • It ensures accountability by allowing stakeholders and regulators to take action to reduce methane emissions.
  • The launch of MethaneSAT has come at a moment when the world is implementing more stringent methane management policies.
  • At last year’s COP, more than 50 companies committed to virtually eliminating methane emissions and routine flaring. MethaneSAT will help them meet these targets.

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