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NASA Announces Shutdown of Geostationary Carbon Observatory Mission

Greenhouse gas data

NASA Announces Shutdown of Geostationary Carbon Observatory Mission

NASA will shut down the Geostationary Carbon Observatory mission and look into newer options for measuring greenhouse gas emissions, according to an announcement made Monday. Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for science, said the space agency is seeking cheaper and more efficient ways to collect climate data.

GeoCarb has incurred approximately $600 million in life cycle costs, exceeding the projected $170.9 million when the project was selected, NASA said.

The space agency aims to solicit proposals for a greenhouse gas observation mission in 2023 that will serve as the first of the Earth Systems Explorers program. Other plans include sourcing data from commercial and international partners and extending the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-3 mission.

Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation, an imaging instrument launched into orbit by NASA in July, was cited as another option because of its ability to measure methane.

In February, the space agency posted a sources sought notice regarding a launch provider for GeoCarb. The mission had seen launch delays in January due to issues finding a private sector-made spacecraft to host the payload.

According to NASA, the increasing prevalence of low Earth orbit constellations and a new Federal Communications Commission initiative to carve out bandwidth for 5G impacted the market for geostationary satellites.

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Category: Space