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    Canadian Tech Firm Launches Third Methane Satellite


Hugo is second of what will be a constellation of 10 methane detection satellites

by: Dale Lunan

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Canadian Tech Firm Launches Third Methane Satellite

Canadian technology firm GHGSat successfully deployed its third methane detection satellite, dubbed Hugo, on January 24 following the launch of the first SpaceX SmallSat Rideshare mission from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

The Falcon 9 launch vehicle carried a payload (banner photo, courtesy SpaceX) of 143 satellites into orbit, the most ever deployed on a single mission. The launch sequence can be viewed here, starting at about 35:14; the GHGSat was deployed at about T+01:08:00 as part of a package brokered and integrated by commercial space services provider Nanoracks.


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Following separation from the second stage, the Falcon 9 first stage successfully landed on a SpaceX droneship. It was the fifth successful launch and recovery of Falcon 9.

Hugo (GHGSat C-2) is the third satellite deployed by GHGSat; it follows Iris (GHGSat C-1), launched in September 2020, and Claire, a technology demonstration satellite which entered orbit in 2016. Hugo has capabilities similar to Iris, but with a lower detection threshold.

Hugo’s successful launch doubles our commercial capacity in orbit for performing high-resolution measurements of facility-level emissions,” GHGSat CEO Stephane Germain said. “This launch starts the year on a high note as the next step in deploying our constellation.”

Hugo is the second of a ‘constellation’ of 10 commercial, high-resolution satellites GHGSat plans to deploy by the end of 2022, each of which is equipped with sensors capable of detecting methane emissions from sources 100 time smaller, at a resolution 100 times higher, than any other commercial or state-funded satellites.

Development of Hugo is the result of GHGSat’s first collaboration with ABB, the engineering firm that manufactured the payload. Three more C-class satellites are currently being manufactured, and each will include patented GHGSat sensors manufactured under contract by ABB Measurements & Analytics Canada.