- Iris can map plumes of methane in the atmosphere at high-resolution.
- The satellite can detect and measure methane emissions from point sources 100 times smaller than any comparable system with a resolution 100 times higher.
- No other commercial operator or state-funded space organization can do this.
- Together, our data and analytics deliver intelligence to take action and reduce emissions.
Iris was tasked on 15 September 2020, with measuring a controlled release of methane from a facility in Alberta, Canada. Ground measurements of the controlled release confirmed an emission rate of 260 kgCH4/hr.
The satellite concentration map is overlaid on a Google Map background.
An aircraft fitted with the same, patented GHGSat high-resolution sensor, was flown over the site at the same time to provide a benchmark. Below are two measurements of the same controlled release as seen by our aircraft instrument (GHGSat-AV) with methane concentrations overlaid of visible light imagery from GHGSat’s auxiliary camera.
- The controlled release started several minutes ahead of the satellite measurement.
- The GHGSat-AV measurement immediately preceding and following the satellite measurement visually corroborate the wind direction.
- The plume shape shown in the satellite measurement, in turn, corroborates the shifting winds.
Instrument parameters, such as pixel size are different for GHGSat-C1 and GHGSat-AV, leading to differences in:
- Detection thresholds (the level/scale at which the instrument can detect an emission)
- Methane concentrations per pixel relative to the source
Iris’s first light – the spacecraft’s first observation of a methane emission – was detected over Central Asia within just 7 days of the satellite launching on 2 September 2020.
Iris is the second satellite in our planned constellation of 10 global emissions monitoring satellites scheduled to be in orbit by 2022. Our third satellite, GHGSat-C2 “Hugo” is due to launch in early 2021 with SpaceX Transporter-1 mission rideshare. “Claire”, our technology demonstrator, launched in 2016. To date she has acquired over 60,000 measurements and is still going strong!