Dubbed TEMPO, this scientific instrument should make it possible to track the spread of pollutants much more precisely than has been possible until now, starting at the source of their emission and throughout their spread by wind.
A satellite was launched from Thursday to Friday night from Florida, loaded with a new NASA instrument that provides hour-by-hour and live measurements of air pollution over North America.
Dubbed TEMPO, this scientific instrument should make it possible to track the spread of pollutants with much greater precision than has been possible until now, starting at the source of their emission and throughout their spread by wind.
This data can be used for a variety of applications, such as improving alerts to residents of poor air quality, and better determining where on the ground new detectors should be installed.
It can also help research the impact of atmospheric pollutants on health, as well as track pollution from fires, which are becoming more frequent due to global warming.
The satellites used so far to provide this kind of data for the United States are located at an altitude of about 700 km and orbit the Earth about 15 times a day.
Tempo, which weighs just under 140 kilograms, will be connected to a satellite in geostationary orbit, located at an altitude of more than 35,000 km. Therefore, it will revolve around the Earth in conjunction with its rotation on itself, which enables it to always remain over North America.
The satellite was launched at 0:30 Friday (4:30 GMT) on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The Vice President of “Intelsat” Jean-Luc Froliger said that the satellite will push itself to reach the orbital location scheduled for it, expecting that this process will take about two weeks.
Tempo, whose mission will last at least two years but will likely be longer, joined NASA’s fleet of about 25 Earth observation missions.