ISS SERVIR Environmental Research and Visualization System (ISERV) is an automated system designed to acquire images of the Earth's surface from the International Space Station (ISS). It is primarily a means to gain experience and expertise in automated data acquisition from the ISS, although it is expected to provide useful images for use in disaster monitoring and assessment, and environmental decision making.Principal Investigator(s)
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL, United States
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)Sponsoring Organization
National Laboratory - U.S. Agency for International Development (NL-USAID)Research Benefits
Information PendingISS Expedition Duration:
May 2012 - September 2014Expeditions Assigned
31/32,33/34,35/36,37/38,39/40Previous ISS Missions
The ISS SERVIR Environmental Research and Visualization System (ISERV) is a fully automated image data acquisition system that flies aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and deploys in the Window Observational Research Facility (WORF) rack within the Destiny module. ISERV functions as a mechanism by which scientists in NASA's SERVIR (Spanish, "to serve") project gain experience and expertise in rapid instrument tasking, automated image data acquisition, and rapid data downlink. While the core purpose of the project is to gain proficiency in these operations in order to inform design criteria and address engineering concerns for a similar but significantly more capable external instrument to be flown aboard ISS at a future date, useful image data is expected to accrue in the process.
ISERV's main component is the optical assembly which consists of a 9.25 inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, a focal reducer (field of view enlarger), a digital single lens reflex camera, and a high precision focusing mechanism. A motorized 2-axis pointing mount allows pointing at targets approximately 23 degrees from nadir in both along- and across-track directions. The T61p WORF laptop provides system control, image storage, and data downlink functions. Utilizing a Canon EOS 7D DSLR, ISERV images a 13 km by 9 km footprint from a nominal 350 km orbital altitude, capturing up to 390 kmē of image data per second in 3-second bursts.
ISERV's operational activities provide hands-on experience in critical information pertinent to the rapid tasking of instruments aboard ISS, as well as rapid downlink and access to the data from those instruments. This experience and information helps ISERV and other payloads acquire and downlink information quicker and more efficiently. Beyond these operational considerations, ISERV provides a highly visible platform which demonstrates NASA's interest and participation in science and Earth observation for the practical and general benefit of society.Earth Applications
ISERV will be upgraded to support the goals of NASA's SERVIR project. SERVIR is a conglomerate system of data, models, and information products, designed to support and inform the environmental decision-making process in various regions around the world. Through its various hubs around the world, SERVIR provides decision-support mechanisms in a variety of areas such as drought and flood monitoring, landslide probability mapping, disease incidence mapping, and air quality and environmental condition monitoring. In addition, SERVIR acts as a regional manager for disaster monitoring and assessment under a United Nations charter and, as such, is responsible for the acquisition and disbursement of a variety of data that describes the affected areas, and is used for assessment and monitoring of conditions following these disasters.
During ISERV's initial operational phase, approximately 60 individual data acquisitions take place, spaced roughly equally over the course of 3 to 6 weeks, that length of time depending upon variables such as visibility of test targets, local meteorology at test targets, etc. ISERV's secondary operational phase consists of an extended period of operation, acquiring data at regular and irregular intervals as necessary to initialize, develop, and refine operational procedures, and as targets of opportunity (disaster areas, etc.) may become available.
Via the T61p laptop, ISERV transmits Health and Status (H&S) data and additional payload telemetry packets once per second to the WORF Rack Interface Controller (RIC) for downlink. In addition, the T61p laptop downlinks the image files resulting from data acquisitions via a direct logical connection to the ISS Local Area Network (LAN). The file transfer rate is set by ground command at up to 6 megabits per second.
ISERV acquires image data, stores the data, and downlinks that data according to control scripts uploaded from scientists at Marshall Space Flight Center. In response to commands, the telescope system slews (moves) either along- or across-track, or both, as necessary to the ground target within the instrument field of view at a specific time. Per a timing sequence within the control script, ISERV acquires single or multiple digital images that are momentarily stored in the camera's CompactFlash memory, then transferred to the WORF laptop hard disk for storage and downlink at the earliest available opportunity. During initial operations, this process is carried out to calibrate instrumentation, and to characterize the as-built performance of the optical system. During secondary operations this process is carried out to initialize, develop, and refine operational procedures necessary for optimization of the acquisition and downlink process with the goal of reducing the amount of time required for each step.