North Dakota’s iPIPE goes to space!

State News

The satellite will detect & prevent pipeline leaks from space.

KX News has been following a program called The Intelligent Pipeline Integrity Program (iPIPE) for years. In continuing coverage, we looked into some amazing new tech.

Back in 2017, Gov. Doug Burgum challenged industry leaders to focus on advancing emerging technologies to prevent and detect pipeline leaks. The consortium of nine safety-minded industry leaders known as iPIPE was formed.

The University of North Dakota’s Energy and Environmental Research (EERC) advises and partners with iPIPE to build and test near-commercial technologies in the field.

Now, they have a powerful piece of technology that literally just took off.

On June 30, iPIPE partnered with Orbital Sidekick to launch the Aurora satellite aboard a SpaceX Transporter-2 craft.

“The recent launch that occurred at Cape Canaveral was just absolutely amazing! To be a part of that and have North Dakota a part of that is just incredible,” said Assistant Director for Subsurface Research and Development and iPIPE Program Manager, Darren Schmidt.

Aurora will serve Orbital Sidekick’s customers in the energy, mining and defense sectors.

iPIPE works with multiple technologies to predict and prevent pipeline spills. Aurora adds one more layer of defense.

“The ability to see hydrocarbons from space is no small feat. It is something that is relatively new in our industry and is advancing very rapidly. So, the idea is to find and fix the faster you can see something better,” explained Schmidt.

Aurora provides high-resolution imagery not previously available to the industry. Now it will be monitoring over the Bakken and Permian basis in North Dakota.

“Our ability in North Dakota to say innovate versus regulate and what we’re doing is a prime example of that and that is really how businesses and industry really advance,” said Schmidt.

Aura is just one more example of iPIPE’s forward-looking technology that goes beyond what’s possible today.

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