Session

Technical Session 3: Year in Review

Location

Utah State University, Logan, UT

Abstract

Disruptive CubeSat technology has brought scientific missions within reach that were previously only achievable through larger spacecraft. Satellite Earth Observation is now the new frontier for governments, private industry, and academia. With the recent launch of the Napa-1 satellite the Royal Thai Airforce (RTAF) has joined the ranks by having its first ever Earth Observation CubeSat in space. Its design, launch, early operations (LEOPS), and commissioning have been carried out by ISISpace, supporting the market’s need for imagery from space.

Napa-1, meaning firmament in Thai, is a 6U CubeSat with the Gecko Imager from SCS Space as its primary payload, capable of taking RGB snapshot images with a 39-meter ground sampling distance (GSD) from 500 km altitude. In addition, the TriScape camera from Simera Sense flies onboard as an in-orbit technology demonstrator and is capable of delivering high-quality images with a GSD of 5 meter in the RGB bands. With well over 200 images taken by the primary payload this paper will look back on this exciting first period of Napa-1’s operational life and proudly present the very first images taken by the satellite and the lessons learnt throughout this turnkey mission.

With that many images taken and that much data generated, the implemented onboard- and on ground data handling systems have been put to the test. ISISpace has made use of KUBOS’ Major Tom for command and control and having integrated a low-level processing tool, also for image data preview and delivery. Insight is provided into the systems and tools in place for image target planning, image acquisition, satellite command and control, and data delivery to the customer. How is it ensured targets are successfully captured? How is the usefulness of the image data efficiently validated? Subsequently, how is knowledge transfer to the customer accomplished to ensure successful routine operations? ISISpace will share the valuable lessons learnt from the mission planning, data handling, operations, and training points of view and show relevant in-orbit data on, for example, attitude behavior and temperature.

In parallel, ISISpace has taken the next step in CubeSat Earth observation by using Napa-1 as a baseline while accommodating larger data streams and leveraging a higher level of automation. Together with the companies Simera Sense and Pinkmatter Solutions, multispectral images with automated on ground data processing (L0 up to L3) are to be delivered by the follow-up mission, Napa-2, to be launched in the summer of 2021. Details on this mission, including a further outlook at how CubeSat imagery and on ground processing will be shaped in the next few years will be provided.

Available for download on Saturday, August 07, 2021

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Aug 10th, 10:00 AM

Earth Through the Eyes of NAPA-1: Commissioning Results and the Next Steps in CubeSat Earth Observation

Utah State University, Logan, UT

Disruptive CubeSat technology has brought scientific missions within reach that were previously only achievable through larger spacecraft. Satellite Earth Observation is now the new frontier for governments, private industry, and academia. With the recent launch of the Napa-1 satellite the Royal Thai Airforce (RTAF) has joined the ranks by having its first ever Earth Observation CubeSat in space. Its design, launch, early operations (LEOPS), and commissioning have been carried out by ISISpace, supporting the market’s need for imagery from space.

Napa-1, meaning firmament in Thai, is a 6U CubeSat with the Gecko Imager from SCS Space as its primary payload, capable of taking RGB snapshot images with a 39-meter ground sampling distance (GSD) from 500 km altitude. In addition, the TriScape camera from Simera Sense flies onboard as an in-orbit technology demonstrator and is capable of delivering high-quality images with a GSD of 5 meter in the RGB bands. With well over 200 images taken by the primary payload this paper will look back on this exciting first period of Napa-1’s operational life and proudly present the very first images taken by the satellite and the lessons learnt throughout this turnkey mission.

With that many images taken and that much data generated, the implemented onboard- and on ground data handling systems have been put to the test. ISISpace has made use of KUBOS’ Major Tom for command and control and having integrated a low-level processing tool, also for image data preview and delivery. Insight is provided into the systems and tools in place for image target planning, image acquisition, satellite command and control, and data delivery to the customer. How is it ensured targets are successfully captured? How is the usefulness of the image data efficiently validated? Subsequently, how is knowledge transfer to the customer accomplished to ensure successful routine operations? ISISpace will share the valuable lessons learnt from the mission planning, data handling, operations, and training points of view and show relevant in-orbit data on, for example, attitude behavior and temperature.

In parallel, ISISpace has taken the next step in CubeSat Earth observation by using Napa-1 as a baseline while accommodating larger data streams and leveraging a higher level of automation. Together with the companies Simera Sense and Pinkmatter Solutions, multispectral images with automated on ground data processing (L0 up to L3) are to be delivered by the follow-up mission, Napa-2, to be launched in the summer of 2021. Details on this mission, including a further outlook at how CubeSat imagery and on ground processing will be shaped in the next few years will be provided.