Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution
The Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution (TEMPO) mission will, for the first time, make accurate observations of tropospheric pollution with high resolution and frequency over North America.
The TEMPO instrument, a geostationary ultraviolet visible spectrometer, will provide daylight measurements of ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, formaldehyde and aerosols.
TEMPO is the first NASA Earth Venture Instrument mission and will be the first UV-visible air quality spectrometer in geostationary orbit.
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 Aerospace is responsible for building the spectrometer with a two-axis scan mirror, and will use valuable heritage from some of its other highly successful programs like OMPS, SAGE, and the James Webb Space Telescope for the TEMPO project.
The instrument’s high resolution will allow tracking pollution at micro urban scales (an area approximating 1.25 x 2.8 miles), and it is expected to provide Earth scientists data that will improve air quality prediction accuracy by 50 percent.
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.
The instrument was the first program awarded under NASA’s Earth Venture Instrument program, which is part of the agency’s Earth System Science Pathfinder (ESPP) program.
Interestingly, the Ball Aerospace-built CloudSat satellite and the Ball Aerospace-built CALIPSO LIDAR instrument were funded as NASA ESPP programs.