Te Whanganui a Tara – New Zealand’s first government funded space mission and Auckland University’s Te Pūnaha Ātea-Auckland Space Institute are hosting the New Zealand based mission control centre for a global methane tracking satellite.
The satellite MethaneSAT, due to be launched in late 2022, is showcasing New Zealand’s science and research expertise on the world stage.
With the help of Rocket Lab, it is making a significant contribution to climate change by mapping agricultural emissions of greenhouse gases.
Mission Operations Control Centre (MOCC) for the mission will be managed by Rocket Lab. Once it is running smoothly, it will be transferred to Te Pūnaha Ātea-Auckland Space Institute as the host.
The partnership will accelerate New Zealand’s capability in a rapidly growing space sector, increase its reputation for future space missions and provide vital data to support climate change.
The mission will see the New Zealand Space Agency partner with one of the world’s leading environmental NGOs, The Environmental Defence Fund, which includes leading New Zealand atmospheric science and remote sensing researchers.
In addition to its agricultural emissions research, the New Zealand science team will work with the US based science team that’s leading the mission’s science on methane emissions from the oil and gas sector.
The US team is led by the University of Harvard in close partnership with The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.