NASA Selects Ball Aerospace for Three Studies to Develop Sustainable Land Imaging Technologies

NASA Selects Ball Aerospace for Three Studies to Develop Sustainable Land Imaging Technologies

The selection of Ball Aerospace comes after the final airborne science flights of two other Sustainable Land Imaging (SLI) technology demonstrations, the Reduced Envelope Multispectral Imager, Airborne (REMI-AB) and the Compact Hyperspectral Prism Spectrometer, Airborne (CHPS-AB).

FREMONT, CA: NASA has selected Ball Aerospace to move forward with three studies to develop and demonstrate innovative Sustainable Land Imaging (SLI) technologies for potential use on future missions of the Landsat program, a series of Earth-observing satellite missions jointly managed by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey that is entering its fifth decade of existence. The studies leverage previous SLI Technologies, including the Ball-built Operational Land Imager 2, which will fly on the Landsat 9 mission launching in 2021.

Top 10 Space Tech Solution Companies - 2020"We are honored and excited that Ball was chosen by NASA for three studies to explore next-generation technologies for the Landsat Program," said Dr Makenzie Lystrup, vice president and general manager, Civil Space, Ball Aerospace. "These studies reflect the importance of continued advancement and the development of creative solutions. We are pushing the boundaries of what's possible when it comes to innovating robust, precisely-calibrated sensors in increasingly compact packages."

The selection of Ball Aerospace comes after the final airborne science flights of two other Sustainable Land Imaging (SLI) technology demonstrations, the Reduced Envelope Multispectral Imager, Airborne (REMI-AB) and the Compact Hyperspectral Prism Spectrometer, Airborne (CHPS-AB). Both were designed to demonstrate improved Landsat mission performance in compact instrument packages.

The three studies included are Landsat Calibration Satellite (LCS), TransCal, and Reduced Envelope Multispectral Infrared Radiometer (REMIR). LCS builds on the CHPS instrument and aims to provide the cross-calibration and validation capability required to knit together a future Land Imaging Constellation. LCS-B focuses on the key technical challenges to delivering an on-orbit reference instrument – specifically, differences in spatial and spectral performance between disparate platforms, such as Sentinel-2, Planet, and Landsat-8.

Transcal is an innovative calibration approach using Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystal material to continue the precise on-orbit calibration method used extensively in the Landsat program, while significantly reducing the size and complexity of the calibration subsystem. This study aims to reduce resources needed for next-generation SLI instruments while meeting or exceeding the current Land Imaging capabilities. The REMIR study will design and build a single, full spectral range (visible through thermal infrared) instrument suite that represents the next step in meeting the thermal infrared band requirements for future Landsat missions. The proposed technology leverages the previous success of the REMI instrument, as well as NASA and Ball investments in new detectors, innovative calibration subsystems and a scanning approach that enables significant reductions in size, weight, and power compared to the existing Landsat architecture.

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