Update January 6, 2012

The International Space Station Agricultural Camera (ISSAC) is nearing readiness for user-directed operation. After months of operational testing and calibration by students and faculty at the University of North Dakota, the sensor has performed well, collecting almost a 1,000 images soon to be available to the public. The multi-spectral, Earth-observing camera will increase its scope of operation with additional emphasis on precision farming, other aspects of production agriculture, ecosystem monitoring & research, and natural disaster imagery delivery, while keeping its primary objective of providing referenced remote-sensing imagery in support of farmers, ranchers, land-use managers, and researchers.

Click on the image below of Gibraltar Spain to see the latest images from ISSAC

Gibraltar Spain

For more information visit http://www.umac.org/sensors/issac/index.html

Update June 21, 2011:

International Space Station Agricultural Camera (ISSAC) goes LIVE!

For more information visit http://www.umac.org/sensors/issac/index.html

ISSAC “First-Light” Image:

This First Light image by the International Space Station Agricultural Camera (ISSAC) was taken of Charlotte Harbor, Florida USA at 07:43:47 local time on June 10, 2011. Sun angle was about 13 degrees above the horizon, as it was only about 8 minutes after sunrise. The ISSAC sensor’s three spectral bands - Green, Red, and Near-Infrared - are combined into a False Color Composite image, in which vegetation appears in red color. For context and comparison, the ISSAC image has been overlayed onto a background Landsat5TM image shown in true color (Blue, Green, Red), and acquired on May 9th, 2011 with a sun angle of around 35 degrees.

FluxData Goes to Space!

FluxData, Inc., a leader in multispectral imaging systems, launched a camera into space aboard the Japanese HTV-2 mission, heading to the International Space Station (ISS), on January 22, 2011.

The FluxData FD-1665 3CCD Multispectral Camera technology is the basis of the International Space Station Agricultural Camera (ISSAC). In the upcoming months after arrival, the FluxData imager, a key component of the International Space Station Agricultural Camera (ISSAC) will be installed in the Window Observation Research Facility (WORF) by the crew onboard the ISS. ISSAC was developed by students and faculty of the University of North Dakota (UND) in Grand Forks, ND., in support of their Upper Midwest Aerospace Consortium (UMAC) research efforts. ISSAC will take frequent multispectral images of vegetated areas on the Earth, specifically focusing on the northern Great Plains and Rocky Mountain regions of the United States.

Through UND’s campus-based operations center, ISSAC will provide end-users the ability to select specific geographical areas of interest and request the collection of imagery that will be downlinked, processed, and delivered within just 1 to 2 days. The data and information ISSAC provides will be used for a wide range of activities including: nitrogen application maps to improve fertilizer use, agriculture management zone decision support systems to improve nutrient and invasive species management, and rangeland management tools to improve livestock allocation and evaluation. The rapid responsiveness of ISSAC imagery may also aid in disaster management, flood monitoring and wildland fire mapping.

The imaging sensor assembly of ISSAC is based on FluxData’s FD-1665 3CCD Multispectral camera technology. The system’s Green, Red and Near-infrared spectral response bands were selected to emulate those of the Landsat 7 satellite and provide many of the same benefits for vegetation and moisture discrimination, monitoring and identification.

Lawrence Taplin, CTO of FluxData, states, “Substantial improvements were made to the system’s optical and mechanical design to withstand the environmental rigors of a payload launch and environmental conditions in the space station. This involved designing the overall ISSAC system to meet the tough NASA requirements for in-station safety, electromagnetic interference, shock and vibration. The results of these improvements are being incorporated across FluxData’s product lines for the benefit of other markets and applications.” In addition Doug Olsen, Project Manager for ISSAC at UND, states, “The FluxData design incorporates subcomponents that can be changed by the crew which greatly increases the overall robustness and reliability of the system. We look forward to getting the first images from space.”

Pano Spiliotis, CEO of FluxData, said, “We are very pleased to be part of the ISSAC program. We have delivered a very high performance, complex and sophisticated multispectral camera system that will bring the unique benefits of space-based imaging to the general public. It is a great honor to have been selected to contribute to this program and a testament to the broad capabilities of FluxData’s products and services.”

Launch Details

The launch time of the H-IIB Launch Vehicle No. 2 with the KOUNOTORI2 (a cargo transporter to the International Space Station) onboard was set at 12:37:57 a.m EST. on January 22, 2011.

Detailed Information about ISSAC

ISSAC was developed in a collaboration that included students and faculty of the University of North Dakota, Upper Midwest Aerospace Consortium (UMAC), NASA. The following pages provide extensive details on the system:

Information about Window Observation Research Facility (WORF)