Airmo is a German startup focused on measuring carbon dioxide and methane with a constellation of 12 Earth-observation satellites. Credit: Airmo

SAN FRANCISCO – Airmo, a German startup planning to obtain space-based measurements of greenhouse gas emissions, has raised 5.2 million euros ($5.7 million) in pre-seed funding, including investment and a European Space Agency contract.

With the funding announced June 27, Airmo will launch the first of 12 satellites equipped with spectrometers and small light detection and ranging (lidar) instruments to measure atmospheric carbon dioxide and methane.

“Spectral data combined with LiDAR data result in much better atmospheric corrections,” Harriet von Kügelgen, Airmo chief commercial officer and co-founder, told SpaceNews by email. “Aerosols and wind patterns play a crucial role in the scattering and absorption of light, affecting the signal’s path and intensity. By integrating wind and aerosol data, it becomes possible to correct for these atmospheric effects more accurately, resulting in improved end data quality and more precise measurements of target greenhouse gasses.”

Airmo, founded in 2022, plans to launch its first satellite equipped with a spectrometer and a micro-lidar in late 2024.

ESA Contract

ESA awarded Airmo a 3.7 million euro contract through the InCubed public-private partnership, managed by ESA’s Phi-lab.

“We see a growing interest from the society and the investors on climate and sustainability,” Michele Castorina, who leads Phi-lab’s investment office, said in a statement. “Earth Observation will play a key role in this landscape.”

Airmo is attempting “a disruptive approach to facilitate efficient monitoring in support of meeting emission goals and detect unnoticed leakages,” Castorina added.

Findus Venture led Airmo’s investment round. Participants included Ananda Impact Ventures, Pi-Labs, E2MC, Antler and prominent European angel investors.

Paris Agreement

Through the Paris climate agreement, 174 countries and the European Union committed in 2015 to undertake efforts to mitigate global warming. The global stocktake, a process of gathering national reports on climate action, is occurring for the first time this year.

The Paris agreement set a goal to limit global warming to well below 2 and preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.

“Achieving this goal requires precise and reliable data on emissions, especially of potent greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane,” according to the Airmo news release.

Debra Werner is a correspondent for SpaceNews based in San Francisco. Debra earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. She...