Global AIS on Space Station (GLASS) (Maritime Awareness) - 09.26.18

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
Nearly all commercial ships on the world’s oceans are being tracked and monitored using the Automatic Identification System (AIS), but the curvature of the Earth blocks the signals when ships are far from shore. The Global AIS on Space Station (GLASS) (Maritime Awareness) investigation uses a space-based AIS receiver system on the International Space Station (ISS) to acquire and disseminate ship information. During a 12-month test period, the system’s ability to continuously monitor ships for use in commercial, safety and security, environmental and educational applications is investigated. Should the test period prove successful, the AIS data will be made commercially available.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Dominick Risaliti, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Experiment Details

OpNom: Maritime Awareness

Principal Investigator(s)
Dominick Risaliti, Adcole Maryland Aerospace, LLC., Crofton, MD, United States

Information Pending

Adcole Maryland Aerospace, LLC., Crofton, MD, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
National Laboratory (NL)

Research Benefits
Earth Benefits, Scientific Discovery

ISS Expedition Duration
September 2015 - March 2016; March 2016 - February 2018

Expeditions Assigned

Previous Missions
The original GLASS project was undertaken by JAMSS America, Inc. (JAI), through a grant agreement with CASIS executed in 2014. The previous project was concluded in 2017. The on-orbit payload remains on the International Space Station (ISS) in Express Rack 3, located in the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Columbus Module.

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

The fundamental question of the GLASS project is, “Does the reception and use of ship AIS data by Maritime Awareness and ground hard- and software substantially improve commercial, security and societal value over current, satellite-based systems?” To accomplish this, the GLASS Project identified the following specific research objectives:
  • Verify performance of Software Defined Radio architecture in receiving and processing massive volumes of incoming AIS signals.
  • Verify Harborlights™ ability to simultaneously process GLASS AIS signals for multiple users and regions.
  • Investigate the value of collecting and using long-range AIS data.
  • Investigate ways AIS data obtained from ISS can be used to support ongoing port operations.
  • Determine value of the AIS data for trade, economic, resource management and national security analysis.
  • Determine business model to commercially provide AIS data to commercial, academic and government users.
  • AMA will actively promote commercial sales of AIS data products. Sales will be solicited in the United States and around the world, in compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

Information Pending

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Space Applications
The data gathered on orbit is purely for earth applications only.

Earth Applications
Almost all ships in the oceans use the Automatic Identification System to broadcast their identity, position, course, speed, cargo, and voyage information to other ships and to ports. But the signals can only be received by other vessels or by ports in the broadcasting ship’s line of sight. Maritime Awareness enables real-time, global tracking data via the ISS, providing more complete information about the world’s ship traffic. Data on ship locations, course and cargo improves safety and security, safeguards trade agreements and business interests, and improves environmental protection, benefiting people on Earth.

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Operational Requirements and Protocols

Continuous 28VDC Power from EXPRESS Rack #3.

The crew installs the ISIS Drawer containing the Maritime Awareness payload into Express Rack #3 in Columbus. The crew disconnects the existing AIS antenna coaxial cable from Vessel ID (on Bogen Arm adjacent to EXPRESS Rack #3) and install it on the Maritime Awareness input connector on the front panel of the ISIS Drawer. After that, the crew installs one end of the PD provided coaxial cable on the Vessel ID input connector and the other end on the Maritime Awareness output connector. The crew (or ground) then powers on the EXPRESS Rack ISIS Drawer. No more crew interaction is required after that for nominal operations.

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

Information Pending

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Related Websites

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NASA Image:  ISS048E045371 - Documentation of the Maritime Awareness - Global AIS [Automatic Identification System] on Space Station (GLASS) drawer and Vessel ID Antenna following installation in ExPRESS (Expedite the Processing of Experiments to Space Station) Rack 3, COL1A1-L2. Image taken in the Columbus European Laboratory.

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