Ball Aerospace-built Geostationary Air Quality Instrument Launches Successfully

February 19, 2020

BOULDER, Colo. – The Geostationary Environment Monitoring Spectrometer (GEMS) instrument, jointly developed by Ball Aerospace and Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) under the leadership of Ball Aerospace, launched successfully on Feb. 18, 2020. GEMS was integrated onto KARI’s GEO-KOMPSAT-2B satellite.

Once operational in space, GEMS will be the first air quality sensor in geostationary orbit where it will help monitor pollution events in the Korean peninsula and Asia-Pacific region.

“GEMS is a result of more than 30 years of innovation in advanced spectrometers at Ball Aerospace,” said Dr. Makenzie Lystrup, vice president and general manager, Civil Space, Ball Aerospace. “Data from GEMS will enable KARI’s mission to assess and forecast air pollution by identifying sources and distribution of pollutants in the atmosphere.”

Ball Aerospace led GEMS development under a contract with KARI for the National Institute of Environmental Research in the Ministry of Environment of South Korea. GEMS will make hourly measurements of key constituents that make up air pollution, including ozone and nitrogen dioxide, which will improve early warnings for potentially dangerous pollution events.

GEMS is one part of a global air quality monitoring constellation of geostationary satellites that will include NASA’s Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution (TEMPO) spectrometer. Ball completed TEMPO in September 2018 for NASA Langley Research Center and Harvard Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. TEMPO is scheduled to launch in 2022.

Powered by endlessly curious people with an unwavering mission focus, Ball Aerospace pioneers discoveries that enable our customers to perform beyond expectation and protect what matters most. We create innovative space solutions, enable more accurate weather forecasts, drive insightful observations of our planet, deliver actionable data and intelligence, and ensure those who defend our freedom go forward bravely and return home safely. Go Beyond with Ball.® For more information, visit www.ball.com/aerospace or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.

About Ball Corporation

Ball Corporation (NYSE: BLL) supplies innovative, sustainable aluminum packaging solutions for beverage, personal care and household products customers, as well as aerospace and other technologies and services primarily for the U.S. government. Ball Corporation and its subsidiaries employ more than 18,300 people worldwide and reported 2019 net sales of $11.5 billion. For more information, visit www.ball.com, or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.


 Media Contact: Joanna Climer

(303) 939-7041, jclimer@ball.com 

Investor Relations: Ann Scott

(303) 460-3537, ascott@ball.com


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