FireSat constellation to enhance global wildfire response

May 20, 2024

Muon Space and Earth Fire Alliance announce FireSat constellation

Muon Space and Earth Fire Alliance (EFA) have announced the launch of the FireSat Constellation, a satellite network aimed at transforming global wildfire response and enhancing climate resilience.

The initiative, developed over five years with support from Google Research and NGOs like the Environmental Defense Fund and the Minderoo Foundation, aims to protect Earth’s ecosystems from wildfires by providing comprehensive, high-fidelity data.

The first phase, launching in 2026, will consist of three Muon Halo satellites equipped with advanced multispectral infrared instruments.

These satellites will offer near real-time insights for decision-makers and first responders, observing every point on Earth at least twice a day.

At full capacity, with over 50 satellites, revisit times could improve to 20 minutes globally, with wildfire-prone regions revisited every nine minutes.

Advanced technology for wildfire detection

The FireSat Constellation features state-of-the-art multispectral infrared instruments that can differentiate genuine wildfires from false positives, enhancing the accuracy and reliability of wildfire detection.

Operating in low-earth orbit, these satellites have an observation swath of 1,500 km and can detect fire ignition sites as small as 5×5 meters.

Brian Collins, Executive Director of EFA, stated: “We believe that high-fidelity data, equitably accessible on a global scale will help us more effectively reduce the negative impacts of wildfire, improve land management, and recognize beneficial fire practices that contribute to more resilient communities.

“FireSat will change the way we view wildfires across the planet.”

Collaboration with NGOs and fire communities

Muon Space and EFA have collaborated with various NGOs and over 200 fire community members to develop FireSat.

Dan McCleese, Chief Scientist of Muon Space, said: “In partnership with Earth Fire Alliance, we are seeking to empower not only first responders but also communities and policymakers with the insights needed to combat the escalating threat of wildfires, building a more resilient future for generations to come.”

Chris Van Arsdale from Google Research emphasized the project’s research potential: “This dataset will be a valuable foundation for Earth Science research.

“Together with the fire community, we are looking forward to applying modern machine learning techniques to scalably detect and track fires globally to make it usable for on-the-ground decision making.”

Near real-time operational guidance

FireSat will provide frequent, near real-time fire operational guidance, including fire perimeter maps and radiative power maps.

This data will be critical for protecting life, property, and ecosystems by improving the safety of frontline responders and tracking fire intensity and growth.

Kate Dargan Marquis, Senior Advisor for the Moore Foundation’s Wildfire Resilience Initiative, noted: “Earth Fire Alliance’s FireSat Constellation represents a new and transformative capability in wildfire management, providing crucial early detection and nearly continuous perimeter and heat intensity monitoring to support first responders worldwide.”

FSJA comment

By leveraging cutting-edge satellite technology and comprehensive data collection, Muon Space and the Earth Fire Alliance aim to shift the focus from reactive to proactive wildfire management.

The collaboration with NGOs and fire communities underscores the importance of a coordinated effort in addressing the growing wildfire threat.

As wildfires become increasingly frequent and intense, the need for real-time, accurate data is paramount in mitigating their impact.

The FireSat initiative not only enhances the ability to respond to wildfires more effectively but also contributes to better land management practices and climate resilience.

The success of this project could serve as a model for future efforts in disaster response and environmental protection.

Read Next

Subscribe Now