HICO and RAIDS Experiment Payload - Hyperspectral Imager for the Coastal Ocean (HREP-HICO) - 02.12.14

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery
ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone

The HICO and RAIDS Experiment Payload - Hyperspectral Imager for the Coastal Ocean (HREP-HICO) uses a special camera that separates light into hundreds of wavelength channels, which reveals information about the composition of water and land along the coasts. Each scene covers an area of about 30 miles by 125 miles, which captures features like river outflow plumes or algae blooms, and lets scientists do environmental characterization of coastal regions.

Science Results for Everyone

Thanks to a long-duration ISS experiment, cloud cover may no longer hinder taking images from space. The Hyperspectral Imager for the Coastal Ocean (HICO) is a special camera that separates light into hundreds of wavelengths to reveal details about the Earth’s coasts, including water depth and visibility.  HICO data was used to develop an effective technique to remove thin cirrus effect -- which is when thin cirrus clouds contaminate images taken in low-Earth orbit by satellites – from ocean images.  The technique may be applicable with other instruments photographing Earth as well.



This content was provided by Michael R. Corson, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.

Experiment Details

OpNom

Principal Investigator(s)

  • Michael R. Corson, Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC, United States

  • Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
    Information Pending
    Developer(s)
    The Aerospace Corporation, El Segundo, CA, United States

    United States Department of Defense Space Test Program, Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, United States

    Sponsoring Space Agency
    National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

    Sponsoring Organization
    National Laboratory - Department of Defense (NL-DoD)

    Research Benefits
    Information Pending

    ISS Expedition Duration
    March 2009 - September 2014

    Expeditions Assigned
    19/20,21/22,23/24,25/26,27/28,29/30,31/32,33/34,35/36,37/38,39/40,41/42,43/44

    Previous ISS Missions
    HREP-HICO is a unique investigation that has not been performed on spacecraft before.

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    Experiment Description

    Research Overview

    • HICO and RAIDS Experiment Payload (HREP) combines two experiment sensors: the Hyperspectral Imager for the Coastal Ocean (HICO) and the Remote Atmospheric and Ionospheric Detection System (RAIDS), into one payload.


    • HREP-HICO operates a visible and near-infrared hyperspectral imager optimized for environmental characterization of the coastal zone.


    • HREP-HICO demonstrates the retrieval of coastal ocean depth, chlorophyll content, sea floor composition and water visibility, which are vital for rapid and safe maneuvers in coastal environments.


    • HREP-HICO provides hyperspectral imagery of coastal environments to the scientific community to aid the development and validation of new coastal products.

    Description

    The HICO and RAIDS Experiment Payload (HREP) consists of two instruments, the Hyperspectral Imager for the Coastal Ocean (HICO) and the Remote Atmospheric and Ionospheric Detection System (RAIDS). The objective of HICO and RAIDS Experiment Payload - Hyperspectral Imager for the Coastal Ocean (HREP-HICO) is to launch and operate a rapid-development, cost-constrained visible and near-infrared (VNIR) Maritime Hyperspectral Imaging (MHSI) system, to demonstrate the detection, identification and quantification of littoral (coast of an ocean or sea) and terrestrial geophysical features. The instrumentation monitors wavelengths from the visible to the near-infrared (VNIR) with a ground spatial resolution of about 95 m2 per pixel. HREP-HICO validates the performance of MHSI technology in space and demonstrates its effectiveness in meeting Department of Defense (DoD) requirements. HREP-HICO provides an initial data stream to introduce new Department of Defense (DoD) users to MHSI data products and develop data dissemination channels. Hyperspectral image data from HREP-HICO also has significant application in the civil remote sensing community. Extensive experience with airborne hyperspectral image data has demonstrated its utility for land use and land cover, vegetation type, vegetation stress and health, and crop yield. In the ocean, bathymetry (depth measurement of large bodies of water), bottom type, and water optical properties are of great interest to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and other agencies with marine responsibilities. The detector could also have uses in the determination of the environmental impact of natural and unnatural disasters. These applications are of immediate interest to the United States Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Homeland Security, and Interior, as well as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

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    Applications

    Space Applications

    HICO is part of a larger experiment called HICO and RAIDS Experiment Payload, or HREP, which combines HICO and the Remote Atmospheric and Ionospheric Detection System. Imagery captured during the experiment’s long duration will provide new data about how sunlight, cloud cover and different viewing angles can affect images taken in low-Earth orbit. Someday, similar observations might be made at Mars or other planetary exploration destinations.

    Earth Applications

    The HICO camera can study the ocean’s depth, shallow sea floor, water visibility and chlorophyll content, which indicates the presence of microscopic species of plankton. Improved understanding of these ocean characteristics is important for the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps, which may need to move ships quickly in shallow or murky waters. HICO data can also be used to monitor water quality, which could help the Environmental Protection Agency and other civilian researchers studying coastal ecosystems.

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    Operations

    Operational Requirements

    HREP-HICO is mounted to the International Space Station (ISS) exterior on JEM-EF at position number six. It requires power provided by the ISS, and uses the ISS for commanding and data downlink. All interaction is via the POIC and no crew interaction is planned other than installation and removal via extravehicular robotics (EVR).

    Operational Protocols

    HREP-HICO is launched to the ISS as a part of the HTV-1 mission. EVR mounts HREP-HICO to the JEM-EF and removes it for disposal on a later HTV flight.

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    Results/More Information

    HICO has been operating since September 25, 2009, aboard the ISS. Over 1700 pictures were collected from HICO in the first year of operation. These images have been used to characterize a variety of optical conditions of ocean waters, such as chlorophyll concentrations, colored dissolved organic matter concentrations, suspended sediment concentrations, and water depth. Image targets have included the Yellow Sea near South Korea, to determine the depth of shallow mud flats and channels, and the Florida Keys, to demonstrate chlorophyll concentrations, dissolved organic matter and suspended sediment concentrations, water depth and bottom information. In 2010 HICO images were used to observed chlorophyll-a concentrations in the Azov Sea, Russia. Model estimates of chlorophyll-a concentrations derived from HICO images were in close agreement with chlorophyll-a concentration measurements taken from actual samples. This proved HICO’s ability to estimate chlorophyll-a concentrations in turbid waters in real-time. Data from HICO was also used to characterize the oil spill resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion on April 20, 2010. HICO collected data from targets around the explosion site and in the nearby marshlands of Louisiana and Mississippi. The results from HICO identified uncontaminated water and oil/water mixture, as well as strands of emulsified oil. Results from HICO will be used in the management of both inland and coastal aquatic ecosystems, for planning and executing operations from humanitarian relief to military actions, and for identification of oil spilled from ruptured oil pipes.

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    Results Publications

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    Ground Based Results Publications

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    ISS Patents

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    Related Publications

      Gao BG, Li R.  Removal of Thin Cirrus Scattering Effects for Remote Sensing of Ocean Color From Space. IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters. 2012; 9(5): 972-976. DOI: 10.1109/LGRS.2012.2187876.
      Amin R, Gould, Jr. RW, Hou W, Lee Z, Arnone RB.  Automated detection and removal of cloud shadows on HICO images. Proceedings of SPIE 8030, Ocean Sensing and Monitoring III; 2011 05/13/2011 803004-803004-10.

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    Related Websites
    Hyperspectral Imager for the Coastal Ocean

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    Imagery

    image The HREP-HICO imager on its rotating spindle. Image courtesy of the Naval Research Laboratory.
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    NASA Image:  Image through the JEM window during Expedition 33 showing the side of the HREP hardware mounted at EFU slot 6.


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    image A HICO image taken over the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2009. The image is about 43 km wide and 190 km long. The center of the image is at 37 20' N, 76 10' W and its orientation is from NW at top to SE at bottom. Image courtesy of NASA.
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    image NASA Image: S129E009592 - View of the Hyperspectral Imager for Coastal Oceans (HICO) and Remote Atmospheric and Ionospheric Detection System (RAIDS) Experiment Payload (HREP) installed on the Japanese Experiment Module - Exposed Facility and the port side Solar Array Wings. Photo taken from a JEM Pressurized Module window.
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    These images were taken (February 2011) from the ISS experiment Hyperspectral Imager for the Coastal Ocean (HICO). Data from HICO is used to find bathymetry and water optical properties. Image courtesy of NASA.


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    These images were taken from the ISS experiment Hyperspectral Imager for the Coastal Ocean (HICO). Data from HICO is used to find bathymetry and water optical properties. Image courtesy of NASA.


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    These images were taken (December 2010) from the ISS experiment Hyperspectral Imager for the Coastal Ocean (HICO). Data from HICO is used to find bathymetry and water optical properties. Images courtesy of NASA.


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