Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Columbus camera captures first views of Earth

12.03.2008
One of the experiments housed on the European Columbus laboratory’s external platform is an automated eye in the sky known as the Earth Viewing Camera (EVC). Now, after several weeks of troubleshooting by the EVC team in the Netherlands, the first pictures from the orbiting camera have arrived safely back on Earth.

The initial image, showing a dimly illuminated cloud-covered region was successfully downloaded on 6 March. A second picture – the first to be produced on command from the ground – was taken soon after dawn on 7 March and shows a scattering of white and pink clouds close to the Aleutian Islands in the north Pacific.

“It was really exciting to see the first image arriving from space after the long period of developing the camera and testing it in orbit,” said Massimo Sabbatini, ESA Principal Investigator for the EVC. “This success would not have been possible without the major contribution of Carlo Gavazzi Space and the hard work of the integration and operations teams at the European Space Technology and Research Centre (ESTEC) in the Netherlands.”

“We are just starting to experiment with the various camera parameters to adjust for the vast range of lighting conditions we encounter. That’s why the second picture is slightly blurred,” explains Sabbatini. “The ISS is travelling at about 7 km per second, so we have to adjust the exposure time to compensate for this rapid motion. At that speed the camera moves over hundreds of metres on the ground in a matter of milliseconds.”

The camera is intended to be a valuable resource for public outreach and education. Sabbatini says, "We hope to encourage teachers and students to use the EVC as a tool for studying all aspects of Earth observation from space – imaging, telemetry, telecommunications links and orbit predictions. We are also hoping to receive requests for images of particular regions over which the ISS is passing.”

The story of the EVC began in 2003, when the company Carlo Gavazzi Space of Milan, Italy, approached ESA with a proposal to fly a digital camera as a low cost payload on one of the external platforms on Columbus. ESA and Carlo Gavazzi Space signed an agreement in March 2004 whereby each partner would provide half of the required funding for the development of the camera.

The EVC points continuously at a fixed angle toward the Earth. The camera weighs 7.8 kg and measures 0.4 x 0.28 x 0.16 m. It uses a commercial, off the shelf, sensor provided by Kodak, with a 2k x 2k detector. It is able to capture colour images of the Earth’s surface that cover an area of 200 x 200 km.

The images are received in Europe by the Columbus Control Centre at Oberpfaffenhofen in Germany and then forwarded to the ESA User Support Operation Centre in the Erasmus Centre at ESTEC. In the future, the EVC image acquisition process and exploitation will be coordinated from the EVC User Home Base, also located at the Erasmus Centre.

EVC is part of the European Technology Exposure Facility (EuTEF) installed on the European Columbus laboratory’s external platform during a spacewalk on 15 February 2008 by NASA astronauts Rex Walheim and Stanley Love.

Located on the starboard side of the International Space Station, Columbus sweeps around the Earth once every 90 minutes. Since the Station’s orbital path is inclined at about 52 degrees to the equator, the Earth Viewing Camera has the potential to take pictures of anywhere on the Earth’s surface from England to the southern tip of South America. This includes almost all of the densely populated parts of the world.

Markus Bauer | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Columbus/SEMUW0M5NDF_0.html

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Predicting unpredictability: Information theory offers new way to read ice cores
07.12.2016 | Santa Fe Institute

nachricht Sea ice hit record lows in November
07.12.2016 | University of Colorado at Boulder

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Predicting unpredictability: Information theory offers new way to read ice cores

07.12.2016 | Earth Sciences

Sea ice hit record lows in November

07.12.2016 | Earth Sciences

New material could lead to erasable and rewriteable optical chips

07.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>