Text Size

Monitoring the Seas from Space
The first "Space Oceanography Applications to Maritime Awareness Conference" took place Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, 2006 at NASA's Kennedy Space Center Space Life Sciences Lab in Florida. The event was sponsored by the Centers for Space Oceanography in Cape Canaveral, Fla., in cooperation with the Florida Space Research Institute, Dynamac Corporation, the Argos Foundation in Cape Canaveral, CLS America in Largo, Md., and Kennedy Space Center.

Presentations focused on contemporary marine research initiatives and current and future space technologies applicable to maritime research, conservation and operations.

Conference held at Kennedy's Space Life Sciences Lab Image left: Oceanography conference attendees at Kennedy's Space Life Sciences Lab. Image credit: NASA/KSC

Guy Etheridge, project manager in Kennedy's Biological Sciences Division, said the conference developed a consensus for the direction of the Centers for Space Oceanography to focus on improving satellite-based tracking technology development and data management systems.

"The conference also allowed a platform to discuss potential collaborations within the diverse user communities such as government, research and academia, and conservation," Etheridge said.

Participants shared a variety of information, including recent research results and the technical challenges impeding progress of biological oceanographic research. Current state-of-the-art systems for biotracking, oceanographic modeling, space-based sensors and applications, vessel monitoring systems and imaging application software were also discussed.

Larry Harvey, executive director of the Centers for Space Oceanography, said the conference aimed to develop a unified strategy for achieving positive interaction between communities in the application of space technologies, particularly those involved in space oceanography.

Infrared imagery of the Atlantic Ocean as seen from the GOES-East satellite Image right: Infrared weather imaging of the northeast Atlantic region taken by NOAA's GOES-East satellite. Image credit: NOAA

Conference participants included representatives from Kennedy, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), SpaceTEC, the Mote Marine Lab in Sarasota, Fla., Dynamac Corporation, Caribbean Conservation Corp. in Gainesville, Fla., Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station in Monterey, Calif., Loma Linda University in California, and several other marine-related organizations, companies and school laboratories.

Topics included "Satellite Tools for the Space Oceanographer," presented by Mike MacDonald, a scientist from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.; "Coastal Hazards and Effects" by George Maul, a professor from Florida Tech in Melbourne, Fla.; "Observing the Sea from Space" by Sam Durrance, Florida Space Research Institute executive director; and "Waterspace Management" by Harvey.

Participants also toured several Kennedy facilities, including the Orbiter Processing Facility and the Apollo/Saturn V Center, and viewed the Launch Complex 39 launch pads.

Linda Herridge
NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center