Nasa Technology News : The View From Space

The View From Space

They've only been on orbit a couple of months, but two new sensors examining our upper atmosphere and oceans already are demonstrating the International Space Station's value as an Earth science observing platform.

The experiments -- the Hyperspectral Imager for the Coastal Ocean, or HICO, and the Remote Atmospheric and Ionospheric Detection System, or RAIDS -- work in tandem as the HICO and RAIDS Experiment Payload, or HREP. The joint payload is operated by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington and its partners.

HICO is the first hyperspectral sensor specifically designed to investigate the coastal ocean and nearby land regions from space. Its imaging shows unique characteristics across the electromagnetic spectrum, including those ranges not visible to the human eye, such as ultraviolet and infrared light.
RAIDS, built jointly by the Naval Research Laboratory and The Aerospace Corporation in El Segundo, Calif., is a hyperspectral sensor suite used to study the Earth's thermosphere and ionosphere -- layers of the atmosphere where the space shuttle and space station orbit.

Its eight optical instruments measure the chemistry, composition and temperature of the thermosphere and ionosphere. It also is testing new techniques for remotely sensing these atmospheric regions, which are very difficult to measure, yet very important for understanding the behavior of low-altitude satellites, space junk and sub-orbital rocket systems.

"The instruments take advantage of the space station as a host platform for Earth observation," said Julie Robinson, International Space Station program scientist at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. "The space station was designed to host numerous instruments for looking at Earth and space, providing attachments sites, power and data."

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS