Orbital Sidekick and Corning Incorporated have released the first images from the International Space Station demonstrating hyperspectral imaging capabilities.
Launched in June and placed into operation in December last year, Orbital Sidekick’s International Space Station Hyperspectral Earth Imaging System Trial (ISS-HEIST) platform utilizes a Corning hyperspectral sensor that takes incoming light reflected off surfaces and divides it into color bands not visible to the human eye.
More capable than cameras currently in place on traditional imaging satellites, hyperspectral sensing technology has applications for commercial Earth exploration in a variety of areas, from oil and gas to agriculture.
“With our Spectral Intelligence™ analytics platform, we convert hyperspectral data into actionable information that our customers can use to optimize safety operations in the oil and gas industry while also achieving compliance obligations,” said Daniel Katz, co-founder and chief executive officer, Orbital Sidekick. “Through our collaboration with Corning, we see significant potential for this technology in disaster monitoring and in the defense, agriculture, and infrastructure sectors.”
Corning’s hyperspectral sensor was selected for Orbital Sidekick’s ISS-HEIST platform for its reliability and performance combined with low cost, compact size, and lightweight. Developed in Keene, N.H., and in Corning’s Sullivan Park facility in New York, the sensor deployed on the ISS covers light from the high ultraviolet to the near-infrared portion of the spectrum. Future generations of this Corning technology will cover the portions of the spectrum from high ultraviolet farther into the infrared.
“Now more than ever, industries are driven to conserve natural resources and to reduce human impact on the environment,” said Curt Weinstein, senior vice president, OEM and advanced networks, Corning Optical Communications. “Corning is continually innovating and investing in capabilities like hyperspectral imaging so our customers can offer next-generation services that change lives.”
This collaboration with Orbital Sidekick extends Corning’s legacy in manned and unmanned space exploration. In 1961, the Mercury spacecraft made the first successful American manned flight equipped with heat-resistant windows manufactured by Corning.
The company went on to create the window glass for every manned American spacecraft – from Gemini and Apollo flights to the space shuttle – and continued to produce glass for numerous applications such as the International Space Station.
Corning also produced glass for the mirror of the Hubble Telescope, and more recently the optics for NASA’s New Horizons mission which passed Pluto in 2015.