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Hyperspectral Imaging (Hyperspectral Imaging )


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

Experiment Overview

This content was provided by Martin M. Szczesniak, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.

Brief Summary

The primary proof-of-concept technology demonstration of this effort is the timely and accurate determination of a measurable quantity (such as rock type or vegetation health) as defined by a subject matter expert. An objective of the AISE project is to engage with more than two dozen SMEs to leverage unique aspects of the ISS platform/orbit to characterize terrestrial and marine environments globally. Specific studies include mapping the characteristics of: tropical rain forests; agricultural crops, forests, and rangeland areas; urban/developed areas; water resources; geologic features; maritime/littoral zones, wetlands and coral reefs; etc.

Principal Investigator(s)

  • Martin M. Szczesniak, San Diego, CA, United States
  • Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)

  • Fred Mertz
  • Mark Dombrowski, Surface Optics Corp., San Diego, CA, United States
  • Developer(s)

    Surface Optics Corporation, San Diego, CA, United States

    Sponsoring Space Agency

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

    Sponsoring Organization

    National Laboratory (NL)

    Research Benefits

    Information Pending

    ISS Expedition Duration

    September 2013 - March 2014

    Expeditions Assigned


    Previous ISS Missions


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    Experiment Description

    Research Overview

    • A Hyperspectral Imager is a type of remote sensing instrument that can accurately measure specific quantities for a number of disparate applications. Crop Health, Water Depth, Rock Type, Urban Landuse, and Fire Fuel Moisture are but a few. Satellite-based remote sensing is expensive due to many factors. Using the ISS as an established platform in LEO validates the mission of the ISS, and can significantly reduce development, deployment and operational costs. Further, the non-sun-sync nature of the ISS orbit provides opportunities for new science studies.

    • There are certain ISS mission scenarios that are actually more cost effective than launching a standalone satellite. For example: using a sensor for a specific mission lasting a few months to a year is tailor-made for the ISS. The mission can be performed from the convenience of the ISS. Then the sensor can be either stowed on the ISS or returned to Earth for future use.

    • As a single example, the AISE HSI sensor will be used to determine the health/state of the Cotton Crops in San Joaquin Valley in California. Improving the accuracy of monitoring cotton can significantly affect the value of commodities in California. Also, farm monitoring is not restricted to the state of California; and, the U.S. Forest Service relies on manually measuring the forests, too. Space-based remote sensing can significantly aid these efforts.


    The primary mission of the AISE project is to provide spectral image data to a broad spectrum of users/projects. The current list of interested AISE users include: commercial firms, universities, government research laboratories, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Talks with researchers at these institutions have identified preliminary applications-focused projects that range from conventional mapping efforts to specialized studies designed to exploit the variable sun-sensor geometry enabled by the orbit of the ISS to measure land surface roughness characteristics required to improve current Ecosystem models.

    A second mission/objective of the project is to use SOCs realtime processing capabilities to overcome the ISS downlink bottleneck. We intend to derive data products/summaries to provide the user community with products that they need/require in a timely manner, without over loading the downlink. These initial cloud-screened products will include: browse imagery, standard color composites, and environmental monitoring metrics/maps such as vegetation indices. Hosting of new or improved algorithms can be implemented with subsequent builds of the system.

    The mission has a clear commercial aspect. The conducted research activity will be sponsored by a commercial entity. SOC will establish on-orbit commerce engaging in marketing of space generated RS data for benefit of mining, agricultural and energy exploration companies.

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    Space Applications

    None anticipated.

    Earth Applications

    Studies include mapping the characteristics of: tropical rain forests; agricultural crops, forests, and rangeland areas; urban/developed areas; water resources; geologic features; maritime/littoral zones, wetlands and coral reefs; etc.

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    Operational Requirements

    Occasional camera calibration and replacement of the solid state hard drives.

    Operational Protocols

    Under development.

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    Results/More Information

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    Related Websites
  • (AISE.net under development)
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    Information provided by the investigation team to the ISS Program Scientist's Office.
    If updates are needed to the summary please contact JSC-ISS-Program-Science-Group. For other general questions regarding space station research and technology, please feel free to call our help line at 281-244-6187 or e-mail at JSC-ISS-Research-Helpline.