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
NASA finds newly formed tropical storm lan over open waters
17.10.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
The melting ice makes the sea around Greenland less saline
16.10.2017 | Aarhus University
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
17.10.2017 | Life Sciences
17.10.2017 | Life Sciences
17.10.2017 | Earth Sciences