Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution
NASA’s Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution (TEMPO) mission will make unprecedented air pollution measurements over North America, from Mexico City to Canada and from coast to coast. The TEMPO instrument will be the first space-based ultraviolet/visible light air quality spectrometer in geostationary orbit.
TEMPO was the first mission awarded under NASA’s Earth Venture Instrument program. Earth Venture missions are low-to-moderate cost targeted science investigations.
The TEMPO instrument, a geostationary ultraviolet visible spectrometer, will provide daylight measurements of ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, formaldehyde and aerosols. Expected to launch in late 2017 with a two-year design life, TEMPO will share a ride on a commercial satellite as a hosted payload to an orbit about 22,000 miles above Earth’s equator.
Ball is developing TEMPO in tandem with the Geostationary Environmental Monitoring Spectrometer (GEMS) in order to capture design efficiencies between the two instruments, which share the same technology. GEMS is a joint development effort by Ball and the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), South Korea and is the Asian element of a global air quality monitoring constellation that includes TEMPO.
TEMPO’s high resolution will allow pollution tracking at micro urban scales (an area approximating 1.25 x 2.8 miles) every hour and is expected to improve air quality prediction accuracy by 50 percent. The instrument is being developed under a firm, fixed-price contract. Ball has a long history of providing cost-effective Earth observation and remote sensing missions under these types of contracts.
Ball Aerospace is part of a team that has extensive experience in measuring the components of air quality from low-Earth orbit. The TEMPO team includes the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory; NASA’s Langley Research Center; NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center; the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; and several U.S. universities and research organizations.
TEMPO is Ball Aerospace’s first civil instrument in geostationary orbit and the first Ball instrument to be hosted on a geostationary communications satellite. Following a successful Preliminary Design Review and confirmation review, the TEMPO instrument is well into fabrication.