NASA, Rocket Lab to Launch Climate-Monitoring Satellites

The two small-scale satellites aim to provide greater insight into ice loss and sea level rise

Scarlett Evans, Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

August 16, 2023

1 Min Read
PREFIRE Satellite Illustration
PREFIRE Satellite IllustrationNASA

NASA has announced plans to launch two satellites for climate monitoring in collaboration with Rocket Lab.

The satellites will contribute toward the space agency’s climate change-focused mission, Polar Radiant Energy in the Far-InfraRed Experiment (PREFIRE).

The PREFIRE project was established to determine how much of the Earth’s heat is lost to space and how this impacts rising sea levels and ice loss. Data collected by the satellites will focus on the Arctic and Antarctica.

Under the project, the two small satellites will be deployed to a 525km circular orbit, with both set for launch next May. Rocket Lab will use its Electron rocket to carry the satellites into polar orbits, where they’ll collect data for at least 10 months.

The deployment marks the seventh and eighth missions Rocket Lab has launched for NASA since 2018.

Data from PREFIRE is expected to provide a better understanding of sea ice loss, ice sheet melt and sea level rise, and inform future climate models.

“Missions like these are core to the whole reason why Rocket Lab was founded in the first place – to open up access to space to improve life on Earth – and climate change is a hugely urgent cause for us all,” said Peter Beck, Rocket Lab CEO. “It’s a privilege to be able to support this important mission and an honor to be a continued trusted launch provider for small satellite missions with big impact.”

Related:NASA Satellite Data Helps Bangladeshi Farmers Save Water

Rocket Lab was selected for the PREFIRE mission through NASA’s Venture-class acquisition of dedicated and rideshare program, a $300 million, five-year contracting vehicle for placing NASA’s science and technology payloads on U.S. commercial launchers.

About the Author(s)

Scarlett Evans

Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

Scarlett Evans is the assistant editor for IoT World Today, with a particular focus on robotics and smart city technologies. Scarlett has previous experience in minerals and resources with Mine Australia, Mine Technology and Power Technology. She joined Informa in April 2022.

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