HABsat-2 – Multi-resolution, Radiation Resistant, VNIR Hyperspectral Imaging 6U CubeSat Constellation for Littoral Ocean, Great Lakes and Tributary Inland Water Studies

Lead PI: Richard Beck, University of Cincinnati
Start Year: 2018 | Duration: 2 years
Partners: Joint Airborne Lidar Bathymetry Technical Center of Expertise, US Army Corps of Engineers, NASA Glen Research NOAA/NASA Harsha Lake Test Site and NOAA/NASA Western Lake Erie

The HABsat-2 constellation will improve our understanding of harmful algal bloom (HAB) dynamics in the coastal oceans, the Great Lakes, and tributary inland waters and their causes on land by addressing several current limiting factors for this application using existing satellites. For in- stance, there is suboptimal imager design for water, insufficient spatial resolution for precise co- registration of surface observations, and too few satellites with such capabilities to defeat cloud cover in humid temperate, humid tropical, and maritime subpolar climates. We will overcome these problems by merging 2 new low-cost miniaturized “hyperspectral-on-a-chip” line-scan and snapshot VNIR imaging technologies from the Interuniversity Micro-Electronics Center (IMEC) with a FLIR wide-field radiometric thermal camera in a low-cost, high-capability CubeSat chassis with space flight heritage. CubeSats cost roughly 1/100th to 1/1000th of most current long-life imaging satellites. Such cost decreases are necessary to improve upon the temporal coverage (number of appropriate satellites) of current imaging satellites, such as Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer/Ocean Land and Color Instrument (MERIS/OLCI) and Sentinel-2A/B. Constellations of low-cost satellites reduce both overall cost and launch risks associated with large production satellites, such as Landsat, while providing the temporal and spatial resolution necessary for the study of highly dynamic and spatially variable algal blooms and other coastal events such as hurricanes. HABsat-2 is optimized for the study of HABs and will be well suited to contribute to additional littoral studies of turbidity, bathymetry, and adjacent wetlands.