ESA Satellites Monitoring Methane Emissions From Gas Pipelines

Methane hotspots over a gas pipeline in Kazakhstan. [Credits: Modified Copernicus data (2020), processed by Kayrros]

PARIS (ESA PR) — For the first time, scientists, using satellite data from the Copernicus Sentinel missions, are now able to detect individual methane plumes leaking from natural gas pipelines around the globe.


Space Flight Laboratory Awarded Contract by GHGSat to Build Three More Greenhouse Gas Monitoring Microsats

TORONTO (SFL PR) – Space Flight Laboratory (SFL), a developer of 52 distinct microspace missions, has been awarded a contract by GHGSat of Montreal to build the next three microsatellites in its commercial greenhouse gas monitoring constellation.

“SFL congratulates GHGSat on its success in providing commercial greenhouse gas monitoring services from space,” said SFL Director, Dr. Robert E. Zee. “This contract highlights GHGSat’s need to expand data collection capacity to meet the growing demand for its valuable services.”


CNES Eyes Biomass to Fuel Future Ariane Launchers

Biomethane installation (Credit: Naskeo Environnement)

The idea of ​​using biomethane to propel future generations of Ariane is gaining ground. This innovative technological solution would have great economic and environmental interest and many positive repercussions in Guyana.

PARIS (CNES PR) — The future Ariane Next launcher , which could take over from Ariane 6 by 2030 or 2035, will have to be more economical to meet market needs. One of the avenues to achieve this could be to use liquid methane rather than hydrogen to power the engines.

“The matter is not yet 100% decided, but we are looking with interest at the combination of oxygen and methane. This is why we are looking for the best methane production channel from an economic as well as an environmental standpoint,” said Pascal Noir, project manager at the Launchers Department.


ExoMars Finds New Gas Signatures in the Martian Atmosphere

Artist’s impression of the ExoMars 2016 Trace Gas Orbiter at Mars. (Credit: ESA/ATG medialab)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA’s ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter has spotted new gas signatures at Mars. These unlock new secrets about the martian atmosphere, and will enable a more accurate determination of whether there is methane, a gas associated with biological or geological activity, at the planet.

The Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) has been studying the Red Planet from orbit for over two years. The mission aims to understand the mixture of gases that make up the martian atmosphere, with a special focus on the mystery surrounding the presence of methane there.


ESA’s Mars Express Matches Methane Spike Measured by NASA’s Curiosity Rover

Artist’s impression of Mars Express. The background image is based on an actual image of Mars taken by the spacecraft’s high resolution stereo camera. Image credit: Spacecraft: ESA/ATG medialab; Mars: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin)

ROME, 1 April 2019 (ESA PR) — A reanalysis of data collected by ESA’s Mars Express during the first 20 months of NASA’s Curiosity mission found one case of correlated methane detection, the first time an in-situ measurement has been independently confirmed from orbit.

Reports of methane in the martian atmosphere have been intensely debated, with Mars Express contributing one of the first measurements from orbit in 2004, shortly after its arrival at the Red Planet.


Reports: ULA to Partner With Blue Origin for LOX-Methane Engine

At Blue Origin’s West Texas facility, the BE-3 engine demonstrated a full simulated suborbital mission profile, igniting, throttling, and restarting on command. (Credit: NASA)
At Blue Origin’s West Texas facility, the BE-3 engine demonstrated a full simulated suborbital mission profile, igniting, throttling, and restarting on command. (Credit: NASA)

Media reports indicate that United Launch Alliance (ULA) has decided to partner with Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin company to produce a liquid-oxygen/methane engine to power the first stage of the Atlas V booster. An announcement is expected on Wednesday.

[Update: ULA and Blue Origin will have a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday at 1 p.m.]

In June, ULA announced it had signed multiple study contracts with American rocket manufacturers for a replacement for the Russian-supplied RD-180 engine. The company said it planned to make a decision by the fourth quarter of this year.


Russians Test New Methane Engine


The second test of the demonstrating engine produced by Isaev Chemical Machine Building Design Bureau (Korolev, Moscow region) was successfully completed on June 25 in NITS RKP (Peresvet, Moscow region). Engine’s thrust is 7.5ts, it uses gas-generation circuit and liquid oxygen/liquid natural gas. Engine start, stop, nominal, forced, restricted modes were tested.

The tests were performed in the framework of the Russian Federal Space Program – development of reusable engine which uses ecologically-friendly prop components (oxygen and liquid gas).

Scientists Designing Instruments to Solve Martian Methane Mystery

New Device Could Solve Mars Methane Mystery

With the detection a few years ago of methane in the atmosphere of Mars, astrobiologists are keen to discover if this gas is derived from living things or not.

“On Earth most of the methane is made biogenically,” said Tullis Onstott of Princeton University. Microbes called methanogens produce this greenhouse gas as part of their metabolism. Although it is possible that similar organisms live in Martian soil, Martian methane could be produced geochemically, without the need for life.