The Audacious Project
Impact 2020
Year in numbers
Environmental Defense Fund

Environmental Defense Fund

MethaneSAT is a satellite designed to assess methane emissions wherever they occur. Making this data widely available is key to holding countries and companies accountable to manage their own emissions — and will give regulators, investors and the public a new tool for protecting the climate. The mission will play a critical role in the Environmental Defense Fund’s (EDF) global campaign to reduce oil and gas methane emissions by 45 percent by 2025.

Photo caption: MethaneSAT is set to launch in 2022. / Ball Aerospace
Share this
Environmental Defense Fund



The MethaneSAT mission is on track to launch its satellite and accompanying instrument in late 2022/early 2023. After completing a critical design review this past June, the team determined that the instrument design is expected to be able to detect methane even more precisely than initially anticipated. 

NOAA approved MethaneSAT’s satellite operating license, which is the most significant of the licenses needed for launch. The NOAA license substantially reduces the regulatory oversight of the project and will reduce the complexity and ongoing cost of operations. 

Development of MethaneSAT’s data platform is also underway. The data platform will deliver high-quality information specifically designed to accelerate advocacy efforts by EDF and others. 



MethaneSAT will be able to locate and quantify a much higher proportion of methane emissions than current satellites. / MethaneSAT

From Orbit into Action: The MethaneSAT Data Flow, Explained

Once the satellite is up and running, it will require systems capable of storing, processing and reporting immense amounts of data. The MethaneSAT Data Platform is where all that information is checked for quality and kept secure — and where it will be served up to users. This new platform is what makes MethaneSAT data actionable, giving decision-makers the robust, high-resolution data they need quickly and continuously. No other system has this capability today, and it is as essential to the project as the satellite itself.

“Cutting methane emissions from the oil and gas sector is the fastest, most cost-effective action we can take today to slow the rate of warming over the coming decades. MethaneSAT’s quantitative emissions data will accelerate company and country actions by tracking trends in emission rates, identifying leaders, and laggards.”

Steven Hamburg, MethaneSAT at EDF

MethaneSAT will be able to locate and quantify a much higher proportion of methane emissions than current satellites. / Ball Aerospace