Greenhouse gasses detected from space

ABB have completed their greenhouse component detection and measurement sensor for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) GOSAT satellite.

The GOSAT (Greenhouse gases Observing SATellite) is scheduled to be launched in 2008 by JAXA and will enable Japanese scientists to study and measure greenhouse gases in support of the Kyoto protocol. This will help them determine compliance with requirements for developed nations to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions between 2008 and 2012.

The $10 million contract was awarded to ABB’s Analytical Business Unit in Quebec in August 2005 by NEC Toshiba Space Systems, the primary mission instrument supplier to the GOSAT program. After less than two years, ABB has now delivered the special unit so it can be incorporated into the satellite and move the project into its next phase.

“We are delighted that one of our core applications, greenhouse gas measurements, will play an essential role in this system,” says Marc-André Soucy, Manager of ABB’s remote sensing industry. “In addition, I am very proud of the project team which has designed one of the most efficient interferometers in space history, all within a tight timeframe.”

The Michelson interferometer of the Fourier transform spectrometer is a system that will collect and transmit global distribution in carbon dioxide and methane density. Following a cycle every 3 days, the satellite collects precise atmospheric measurements from 666 kilometers (more than 413 miles) above the earth. The measurements will be used to chart and evaluate atmospheric carbon dioxide and methane levels.

“GOSAT will be the first observatory that will steadily and globally monitor greenhouse gases at 56,000 observation points every three days.” says Takashi Hamazaki, JAXA project manager. “Scientists will be able to combine global observation data sent from space with data already being gathered on land.”

Control Engineering