NASA To Launch Air Quality Measurement Tool TEMPO In 2022


Satellites for communication and other purposes have been heard of. But did you know that NASA has satellite payloads for measuring the air quality on Earth? The agency is gearing up to send a payload that could help improve the air quality forecasting called TEMPO. It would provide hourly measurements of the air quality.




Most likely, NASA could send the TEMPO aboard a Maxar 1300-class satellite, whose main mission is to provide commercial satellite communications for Intelsat customers. NASA elaborated that TEMPO stands for Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution. The new tool would provide hourly measurements of the levels of gases in the atmosphere over North America.

NASA Tempo Features

"TEMPO will make hourly measurements of atmospheric gases - including ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and formaldehyde as well as aerosols - across North America and provide air quality products that will be made publicly available and help improve air quality forecasting," NASA announced.

TEMPO would paint a picture of the relative air quality and the information would be available publicly. In turn, weather monitoring agencies could provide accurate real-time air quality information as part of the forecasts.

Satellites For Air Quality Measurement

Satellites For Air Quality Measurement

The NASA Tempo tool will be used alongside other such tools including South Korea's Geostationary Environment Monitoring Spectrometer and the one launched from the European Space Agency. Together, the air quality measuring tools will combine to provide a comprehensive image of the air quality across the Northern Hemisphere.

Moreover, NASA has already been an active source for the air quality index (AQI) information. The accuracy of the EPA's daily AQI improved as much as 38 percent after a NASA satellite data refreshed every three hours was introduced as part of the index's calculation.

The continuous inflow of data could improve the accuracy and have a direct impact on lives on Earth, especially as the air quality worsens due to airborne pollutants.

TEMPO Launch

TEMPO Launch

However, NASA won't launch the TEMPO tool till 2022, which is when the Maxar satellite, called Intelsat 40e will be delivered to the geostationary orbit. The TEMPO instrument was developed by Ball Aerospace and would be transported to the Maxar's Palo Alto-based satellite manufacturing facility, where it would be settled aboard the Intelsat 40e vehicle ahead of the launch.

This isn't the first time NASA is hitching a ride for sending its scientific payloads on commercial communication satellites. It gives the premier space agency an advantage as a ride on a large geostationary satellite will cover up the region it wants and also helps significantly in cost savings.

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