Our team

MethaneSAT brings together experts from some of the world’s most seasoned aerospace organizations in both the commercial and public -sectors, as well as leading experts in remote sensing and atmospheric sciences.

MethaneSAT LLC Team

Tom Ingersoll

MethaneSAT LLC Project Co-lead

Tom has over 30 years’ experience in the space industry. He was CEO of Skybox Imaging, and he led its sale to Google in 2014. Previously, he was co-founder/CEO of Universal Space Network, a global satellite ground-station services company, which he sold in 2009. Tom started his career in the PhantomWorks of McDonnell Douglas Corporation, where he led advanced technology projects in satellite and rocket systems. Tom is on the board of WorldView and was previously a board member of GHGsat, a commercial greenhouse gas detection company.

Dr. Steven Hamburg

MethaneSAT LLC Project Co-lead

Steve is co-leader of MethaneSAT and, in a separate capacity, Chief Scientist at Environmental Defense Fund, where he initiated and oversaw an unprecedented initiative involving over 150 scientists from more than 40 institutions measuring methane leakage across the U.S. natural gas supply chain. Steven serves as Chief Scientific Officer for the United Nations Environment Programme’s global methane studies, a joint effort of UNEP, EDF, DG Energy (European Commission) and the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative companies. He was previously on the faculty of Brown University for 16 years. He has published more than 100 scientific papers and served as a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Ed Irvin

MethaneSAT LLC Project Director

Ed served over three decades at Lockheed Martin, including significant management roles on multiple remote sensing satellite system programs. Since 2016, he has operated as a consultant to a number of commercial startup companies. Ed is now providing satellite program management services for the MethaneSAT program. He has extensive systems engineering and management experience in earth observation and telecommunication satellite system developments and operations.

Dr. Ritesh Gautam

Senior Physical Scientist

Ritesh is a Senior Physical Scientist for MethaneSAT LLC, leading remote sensing efforts of characterizing methane emissions linked to the oil/gas sector. Previously, Ritesh was a research scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center with Universities Space Research Association and recently a faculty member at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay. His research experience is primarily in satellite remote sensing and climate effects of air pollution. He has nearly 40 scientific articles published in peer-reviewed literature.

Jon Coifman

Senior Communications Director

Jon oversees communications and media relations for MethaneSAT LLC, and, in a separate capacity, is Senior Director of Communications at Environmental Defense Fund. He has worked in environmental and energy communications with a wide range of non-profit and private sector clients and partners for more than 20 years.

Cassandra Ely

Director

Cassandra oversees the day to day management and operations for MethaneSAT LLC. She is an experienced leader in strategic project implementation. Before joining MethaneSAT, she managed groundbreaking Methane and the Air Quality Mapping projects at Environmental Defense Fund.

Scientific partners

MethaneSAT has engaged with Harvard University and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory to design the scientific and technical approach, and to develop the data acquisition and analysis capability.

Dr. Steven C. Wofsy

Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, Harvard University

Steven is Professor of Atmospheric Sciences in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Harvard, and Faculty Associate at the Harvard Center for the Environment. His work spans the range of processes affecting atmospheric chemistry, including pioneering work on determining regional emissions of methane and carbon dioxide using ground, aircraft, and remote sensing measurements. His studies aim to understand underlying causes for change in atmospheric composition in order to mitigate impacts and provide scientific information for societal decisions.

Dr. Joshua Benmergui

Post-Doctoral Fellow, Harvard University

Joshua is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University. His research focuses on data analytics to improve the observation and understanding of atmospheric pollution. Dr. Benmergui’s work on MethaneSAT includes the design and planning of spacecraft maneuvers and emissions detection and quantification systems.

Dr. Kelly Chance

Senior Physicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Kelly has worked in space-based measurements of atmospheric composition since 1985, and is Principal Investigator of TEMPO. He has developed algorithm physics for ultraviolet and visible measurements, proposed the now-standard method for tropospheric ozone measurements from back scattered light measured by satellites, and made the first global measurements of formaldehyde and glyoxal from space.

Dr. Jonathan E. Franklin

Research Associate, Harvard University

Jonathan is a research associate in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Harvard specializing in ground-based remote-sensing of methane and carbon dioxide. He operates the Boston regional greenhouse gas column network which, in collaboration with global column observing networks, provides validation data to Earth observing satellites including GOSAT, OCO-2, OCO-3, and TROPOMI.

Dr. Xiong Liu

Research scientist, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Xiong has extensive expertise in satellite retrievals of trace gases and aerosols, and satellite instrument development and calibration. He developed one of the most advanced ozone profile and tropospheric ozone retrieval algorithms for ultraviolet measurements. He is currently the Deputy Principal Investigator for TEMPO, and is the SAO lead on science and algorithms for the MethaneSAT project.

Dr. Chris Chan Miller

Physicist, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Chris is an atmospheric physicist who specializes in applications involving radiative transfer in planetary atmospheres. He has developed algorithms for observing atmospheric composition from Earth-observing satellites as part of the TEMPO and OMI science teams, and is currently a Co-investigator of the NASA MEaSUREs project to produce long term records of formaldehyde, glyoxal and water vapor from space.

Dr. Jenna E. Samra

Instrument Scientist, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Dr. Samra is an astrophysicist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Her focus is on design and testing of the MethaneAIR simulator of MethaneSAT, and on applications of MethaneAIR for studies of methane emissions in North America.

Dr. Kang Sun

Assistant Professor of Environmental Engineering, University at Buffalo

Kang is an assistant professor affiliated with the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering and the RENEW Institute of University at Buffalo. He developed open-path, quantum cascade laser-based sensor for atmospheric ammonia detection and has involved in the science teams of OCO-2, OMI, and TEMPO. His current research includes methane retrieval algorithm development, emission quantification, and deriving surface concentrations from satellite column measurements.

Advocacy for the MethaneSAT project

Environmental Defense Fund will use data shared by MethaneSAT LLC to assist in advocacy around EDF’s goal to protect the climate by reducing global methane emissions.

Fred Krupp

President, Environmental Defense Fund

Fred is an influential voice on climate change, energy, and sustainability, and a champion for using the power of markets to protect our environment. Under his leadership since 1984, EDF has become one of the world’s largest and most influential environmental organizations. More recently, he coined the notion of a “Fourth Wave” of environmental innovation, where new technology, advanced analytics and collaborative problem-solving combine to shape smart policy and reward corporate responsibility, allowing both people and the planet to prosper. Fred introduced the idea for MethaneSAT in an April 2018 TED Talk.

Mark Brownstein

Senior Vice President of Energy, Environmental Defense Fund

Mark is the chief architect of EDF’s global methane campaign, and leads EDF’s Energy Program. Mark was one of two staff leads on the United States Climate Action Partnership, a coalition of corporations and environmental groups championing federal cap-and-trade legislation. Prior to EDF, he held several senior management positions in the electric and gas utility industry, and started his career as an air quality regulator.

Expert advisors

To support the technical and scientific components of the project, we have enlisted some of the space industry’s most seasoned experts to serve on two advisory groups. They are helping to ensure the mission meets the highest scientific and technical standards.

MethaneSAT Technical Advisory Group

The Technical Advisory Group is focused on the design and fabrication of the overall MethaneSAT observatory.

Joe Rothenberg

Chair

Until 2016, Joe was Director of Engineering and Operations for Google’s Skybox Imaging/Terra Bella Remote Sensing Satellites. Joe previously served multiple roles at NASA, including Associate Administrator for Space Flight; Director of the Goddard Space Flight Center; and Associate Director responsible for the Hubble Space Telescope 1st Servicing Mission. He came to NASA from Grumman Aerospace.

Jim Austin

 

Steve Battel

Steve is a graduate of the University of Michigan with 42 years of experience as a system engineer, designer and manager for NASA and DOD space projects. He is well known within the space community for his science and engineering leadership related to the development of unique electronic systems and scientific space instruments for Earth observing, planetary geochemistry, space physics and astrophysics applications. President of Battel Engineering since 1990, Steve is also an Adjust Clinical Professor in the departments of Electrical Engineering and Climate and Space at the University of Michigan. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Jonny Dyer

Jonny leads hardware development for Lyft’s driverless car program, after heading up hardware system development at Google's mapping division, Geo. Before that he spent seven years as Chief Engineer of Skybox Imaging, where he helped develop the first VC-funded NewSpace startup into an organization with the world’s largest constellation of high-resolution Earth Remote Sensing satellites. Prior to Skybox, Jonny spent five years doing fundamental research on rocket propulsion technologies.

Dr. Charles Elachi

Dr. Charles Elachi is Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering and Planetary Science at the California Institute of Technology. From 2001 to 2016, he served as Vice President of Caltech and Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory , overseeing over 45 flight missions and instrument development projects. He was principal investigator on numerous NASA-sponsored studies and flight projects including the Shuttle Imaging Radar series, the Magellan Imaging Radar; the Cassini Titan Radar; and a Co-Investigator on the Europa Sounding Radar.

Dennis Hewitt

Dennis Hewitt was employed at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), where he contributed to the design, analysis, and testing of a wide array of spacecraft and instrument projects. Positions included the Head of the GSFC Thermal /Contamination Engineering Branch, Observatory Manager for the X-Ray Timing Explorer (XTE) and lead thermal engineer on numerous NASA Projects.

Since his retirement from GSFC, he has been consulting for Bay Engineering Innovations, Inc., providing systems, thermal engineering and project management support. Most recently, he has supported the GSFC Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS2) systems team.

Dr. Dan McCleese

Dan is an atmospheric scientist and founder of Synoptic Science, a space science and mission formulation consultancy. Previously, he was Chief Scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Concurrently, he was Director of JPL’s Innovation Foundry. Dan was also Principal Investigator for the Mars Climate Sounder onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. As Chief Scientist for JPL’s Mars Exploration Directorate, he was a principal architect for NASA’s Mars Exploration Program.

William Preetz

William retired from Lockheed Martin in 2011, where he helped design DigitalGlobe's WorldView 4 imaging satellite. At Lockheed, Bill worked in Attitude Control Systems (ACS) and Systems Engineering for Hubble Space Telescope, Special Programs, Iridium, Ikonos (world’s first commercial imaging satellite), SBIRS and P909.

Dr. Maxime Rizzo

Maxime is an Instrument Systems Engineer for the WFIRST flagship telescope, a wide-field near-infrared imager and spectrometer. Previously, he worked on a visible-light Integral Field Spectrograph for NASA’s WFIRST Coronagraph Instrument, dedicated to the detection and characterization of exoplanets.

Dirk Robinson

Dirk Robinson has lead teams to solving engineer problems at the intersection of imaging, machine learning, and global-scale software engineering. He currently leads the software engineering teams building the Google Maps Platform. Prior to that, he led the effort to design and build the imaging systems, from photons to product, for Skybox Imaging which built the world largest private constellation of high-resolution remote sensing imaging satellites. Prior to Skybox, Dirk lead a computation imaging R & D team designing novel imaging products for Ricoh, a Fortune 500 company. Dirk received his PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2004.

Barry Starr

Barry owns Hoku Akamai LLC, a science and engineering consulting and technical services firm. He is an expert in imaging system design and fabrication, specifically high-performance optical and infrared detectors and focal plane arrays (FPAs). From 2003 to 2018, he was a Senior Engineering Fellow at Raytheon. Previously, Barry worked on optical and infrared FPA development and characterization for Canada France Hawaii Telescope and the US National Optical Astronomical Observatories (NOAO).

Dr. Ion Yadigaroglu

Ion is Managing Partner at Capricorn Investment Group, and an early investor in technology companies including Tesla, SpaceX, Planet, QuantumScape and Saildrone. Previously, Ion was a Director with Koch Industries, executing a range of acquisitions and investments. Before that, he was a founder and CEO of the software startup Bivio, and the second employee of the foreign exchange analytics company Olsen & Associates.

 

MethaneSAT Science Advisory Group

The Science Advisory Group provides guidance on MethaneSAT’s advanced methane measurement capabilities and data analysis.

Dr. Dan McCleese

Chair

Dan is an atmospheric scientist and founder of Synoptic Science, a space science and mission formulation consultancy. Previously, he was Chief Scientist NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Concurrently, he was Director of JPL’s Innovation Foundry. Dan was also Principal Investigator for the Mars Climate Sounder onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. As Chief Scientist for JPL’s Mars Exploration Directorate, he was a principal architect for NASA’s Mars Exploration Program.

Prof. Dr. Ilse Aben

Ilse is senior scientist in the Earth Science Group at the SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research and co-Principal Investigator on the TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI), an instrument on board ESA's Copernicus Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite. She is an expert on remote sensing of the Earth’s Carbon cycle and shortwave infrared imagery.

Dr. Andre Butz

Dr. Andre Butz heads the Atmospheric Physics branch of the Institute of Environmental Physics at the University of Heidelberg. They explore the gaseous and particulate composition of the Earth's atmosphere with a focus on the greenhouse gases methane and carbon dioxide. They use and develop spectroscopic sensing techniques enabling accurate measurement of greenhouse gas concentrations from satellites and ground-based platforms.

Dr. Christian Frankenberg

Christian is Professor of Environmental Science & Engineering at the California Institute of Technology and Research Scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He has over 10 years’ experience in methane remote sensing from space and aircraft, and developed retrieval algorithms enabling the first global observations of total column methane from space.

Dr. Daniel Jacob

Daniel is the Vasco McCoy Family Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Environmental Engineering at Harvard University, and Faculty Associate at the Harvard Center for the Environment. His research covers a wide range of topics in atmospheric chemistry, from air quality to biogeochemical cycles and climate change. He leads the development and management of the GEOS-Chem global 3-D model of atmospheric composition used by over 200 research groups around the world. He has served as Mission Scientist on eight NASA aircraft missions.

Dr. Julia Marshall

Julia is a Research Scientist and Leader of Satellite-based Remote Sensing of Greenhouse Gases Group at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry. The focus of her research is fluxes of carbon dioxide and methane using satellite measurements, and efforts to harmonize flux estimates based on satellite- and surface-based measurements.

Dr. Paul Wennberg

Paul is Director of The Linde Center for Global Environmental Science at the California Institute of Technology. He created the Total Carbon Column Observing Network (TCCON) to measure the distribution of greenhouse gases across the globe, and is a co-Investigator on NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) satellite. He studies atmospheric photochemistry and the terrestrial carbon cycle.