Vessel ID System (Vessel ID System) - 01.29.14
ISS Science for Everyone
Science Objectives for Everyone
The Vessel ID System investigation demonstrates the ability of a space-based radio receiver to identify ships in the ocean. It also demonstrates the use of a simple device known as the Grappling Adaptor to On-Orbit Railing (GATOR), which can be used during a spacewalk to attach small equipment to external handrails on the International Space Station (ISS). The investigation could provide researchers an additional platform for mounting experiments while demonstrating a new means to identify ships at sea.
Science Results for Everyone
OpNom Vessel ID Sys
Sponsoring Space Agency
European Space Agency (ESA)
ISS Expedition Duration
March 2010 - September 2014
Previous ISS Missions
Vessel ID System operations were first scheduled to operate on ISS Increment 21/22.
- The Vessel ID System investigation consists of a simple EVA compatible mechanism to accommodate small passive equipment payloads on the ISS modules equipped with standard EVA handrails, known as Grappling Adaptor to On-Orbit Railing (GATOR).
- The Vessel ID System also consists of a ship and shore broadcast system which operates in the VHF maritime band, known as the Automatic Identification System (AIS). AIS will demonstrate the space-based identification capability of maritime vessels.
The Vessel ID System tests a new mechanism that can be used to install small passive experimental payloads on the International Space Station’s exterior. The Grappling Adaptor to On-Orbit Railing (GATOR) could attach small payloads to ISS handrails, which are used by crewmembers during extravehicular activity. This would provide an additional space on the station to conduct passive experiments or collect data.
The Vessel ID System includes an Automatic Identification System (AIS), which can track global maritime traffic from space. Data from this ship-monitoring device could be combined with data from satellites to provide better surveillance of ships at sea. Current AIS technology is only designed to monitor vessels in coastal waters, but the Vessel Identification System will incorporate ships in open waters. It will be mounted on the European Columbus module, and could help European entities monitor ships for fishery control, search and rescue operations, maritime border control and law enforcement purposes.