European Technology Exposure Facility-Earth Viewing Camera (EuTEF-EVC) - 11.22.16

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

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
The Earth Viewing Camera (EVC) is a fixed-pointed Earth-observing camera, located on the European Technology Exposure Facility (EuTEF). The main goal of the system is to capture color images of the Earth’s surface, to be used as a communication tool to increase the awareness of the general public on the ISS and as a promotional tool to demonstrate the use of the ISS for observation purposes to the potential user community.
Science Results for Everyone
Forget selfies, these are Earthies. A fixed Earth-observing camera on the European Technology Exposure Facility (EuTEF) captured detailed color images of Earth in which geographical features can be distinguished. This project is also part of a program to develop and test imaging technologies for extreme environments. Some of the images on orbit were overexposed or low-resolution, perhaps due to misalignment of optics in the integration or launch phases. The camera also experienced a data link problem. Researchers did gather data that could help advance the development of external camera technologies, for now the focus has switched to Earth-viewing from inside the station.

The following content was provided by Massimo Sabbatini, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Information provided courtesy of the Erasmus Experiment Archive.
Experiment Details


Principal Investigator(s)
Massimo Sabbatini, European Space Research and Technology Research Centre, Noordwijk, Netherlands

Information Pending

Carlo Gavazzi Space S.p.A., Milan, Italy

Sponsoring Space Agency
European Space Agency (ESA)

Sponsoring Organization
Information Pending

Research Benefits
Information Pending

ISS Expedition Duration
October 2007 - October 2009

Expeditions Assigned

Previous Missions
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • The Earth Viewing Camera (EVC) will highlight the availability for European users of the Columbus External Facilities and European Technology Exposure Facility (EuTEF) in particular. At the same time it will demonstrate to the public that the utilization potential of the ISS is not restricted to research under micro-gravity conditions, but that it also comprises other disciplines like Earth observation and atmospheric studies and analysis.

  • Specifically, the EVC will be able to take medium resolution color images of the Earth surface both in daylight and at nighttime. Not being mounted onto a specific pointing tool, EVC Field of View shall be sufficiently large to allow potential users to distinguish and recognize geographical features and landmarks.

The Earth Viewing Camera (EVC) payload is as a fixed-pointed Earth-observing camera. It shall be situated under the EUTEF Support Structure, nadir pointed.

The main goal of the system is to capture colour images of the Earth surface, to be used as a communication tool to increase the awareness of the general public on the ISS and as a promotion tool to demonstrate the use of the ISS for observation purposes to the potential user community.

The footprint of the ground pictures is of 200 Km x 200Km with a resolution of 100 meters per pixel. The acquisition system shall acquire and be able to send one image every 20 seconds via the main data interface to the ISS. EVC shall provide the capability to continuously observe the Earth surface and record and store images when the downlink is not available: up to 20 minutes of continuous acquisition.

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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

The Earth Viewing Camera forms part of an overall program of development and testing of Imaging Technologies for extreme environments. Following activation of the Earth Viewing Camera on orbit the camera did experience some problems of overexposure and lack of resolution in pictures produced that could have been due to mis-alignment of the optics in the integration/launch phase; as well as an unpredictable data link problem. However, ESA has now made further advances in Earth Viewing technologies, though the focus has been switched to Earth viewing from inside the ISS with devices such as the NightPod tracking device. That being said important data has been gathered within the Earth Viewing Camera project which could help with the possible future development of external camera technologies.

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Results Publications

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Ground Based Results Publications

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ISS Patents

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Related Publications

    Reibaldi GG, Gianfiglio G, Feltham S, Galeone PC.  The ESA Pressurized and Unpressurized Payloads in the Columbus Laboratory. 55th International Astronautical Congress, Vancouver, Canada; 2004 T.4.06.

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Related Websites
The information on this page is provided courtesy of the ESA Erasmus Experiment Archive.
Columbus Mission - European Experiment Programme

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image NASA Images s124e010226 (background) and s123e009654 (foreground): This image shows the location along with a close up view of the European Space Agency’s European Technology Exposure Facility (EuTEF) platform located externally on the Columbus module. EuTEF houses nine experiments including Earth Viewing Camera (EVC).
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