Super-Sensitive High Definition TV (SS-HDTV) - 07.05.17

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

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
Super-Sensitive High Definition TV (SS-HDTV) system takes video images during orbital nights, Earth nights, lightning, auroras, cosmic showers, and other amazing events. The video images taken by SS-HDTV are recorded to SD cards, which are downlinked to the ground via data-relay satellites.
Science Results for Everyone
Sprites aren’t mythical, they’re real.  “Sprites” are what astronauts called the elusive, short-lived flashes seen from space in connection with thunderstorms and lightning. They’re actually electrical discharges occurring about 80 kilometers (50 miles) up in the atmosphere and extending for 20 to 30 kilometers. Super-sensitive, high-definition TV cameras on the space station have captured images of sprites along with other orbital and Earth night phenomena such as auroras, lightning, and meteor showers -- images impossible to record with normal HDTV cameras. This investigation recorded and downlinked images to the ground via data-relay satellites.

The following content was provided by Hideki Tazuke, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Information provided courtesy of the Japan Aerospace and Exploration Agency (JAXA).
Experiment Details


Principal Investigator(s)
Hideki Tazuke, NHK, Japan

Keiji Murakami, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Tsukuba, Japan

Information Pending

Sponsoring Space Agency
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

Sponsoring Organization
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

Research Benefits
Information Pending

ISS Expedition Duration
March 2011 - May 2012

Expeditions Assigned

Previous Missions
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • With a normal HDTV camera, it is impossible to take the images of auroras and cosmic showers. Using the Super-Sensitive High Definition TV (SS-HDTV) system, it is possible to take the images from the International Space Station (ISS). Half of the ISS orbit is night, so the SS-HDTV system enables us to take the full-time images from ISS.

  • Using SS-HDTV, we will be able to record the natural phenomenon of Aurora, Lightning, Sprites, Airglow, Meteor Shower, etc.

  • Many people will have an interest of the universe by broadcasting recorded videos of SS-HDTV.

Information Pending

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Space Applications
Information Pending

Earth Applications
Information Pending

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Operational Requirements and Protocols
Information Pending

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

Photographic results of HDTV photography of transient luminous events (TLE) from the ISS has provided additional insights into TLE phenomenon. The advantage of photography from the ISS was observed by the ability to take high definition shots from nadir observations which provided information regarding the special arrangement of sprite elements with respect to the parent flash. The methodology for target selection that we developed proved to be extremely accurate and enabled us to maximize the observing times allocated to us by ISS mission planners. This method will be employed again in the upcoming THOR experiment that will be conducted on board the ISS by ESA's astronaut Andreas Mogensen) in September 2015. The Copula window is an exceptionally good vantage point for Earth observations. Almost each time we shot video from that window, we got a good result!. (Yair 2013)

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Results Publications

    Yair Y, Rubanenko L, Mezuman K, Elhalel G, Pariente M, Glickman-Pariente M, Ziv B, Takahashi Y, Inoue T.  New color images of transient luminous events from dedicated observations on the International Space Station. Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics. 2013 September; 102: 140-147. DOI: 10.1016/j.jastp.2013.05.004.

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Ground Based Results Publications

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ISS Patents

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Related Publications

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Related Websites

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