Session

Technical Session 13: Future Missions/Capabilities

Location

Utah State University, Logan, UT

Abstract

The subtropical waters between Hawaii and California are currently infested with an accumulation of plastic estimated to be twice the area of Texas, otherwise known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP). This paper presents a novel CubeSat mission to monitor the size, growth and position of the GPGP. At 1.6 million square kilometres, the GPGP is by far the largest and most serious accumulation of garbage out of the five patches littered across the world’s oceans. If we are to prevent further damage to the marine ecosystems, it is imperative we act with the utmost urgency. Leveraging recent technological advancements in imaging capabilities, a comprehensive concept of operations has been produced detailing the satellite's lifecycle from launch to deorbit, including the crucial phases whereby data is collected and transmitted. Although this paper focuses on tracking and monitoring the GPGP, the same concept of operations has the potential to observe all five garbage patches. The proposed mission utilises two reflective indices, Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and Floating Debris Index (FDI), that will aid in differentiating surface plastics from other floating materials. For the mission to employ both NDVI and FDI, the chosen payload will require a spectral capture range from 665nm (red edge) to 1600nm (Short Wave Infrared) and would ideally have a Ground Sampling Distance (GSD) of no greater than 10m to guarantee the data collected is valuable.

Available for download on Saturday, August 07, 2021

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Aug 12th, 11:00 AM

Observing and Tracking the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Utah State University, Logan, UT

The subtropical waters between Hawaii and California are currently infested with an accumulation of plastic estimated to be twice the area of Texas, otherwise known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP). This paper presents a novel CubeSat mission to monitor the size, growth and position of the GPGP. At 1.6 million square kilometres, the GPGP is by far the largest and most serious accumulation of garbage out of the five patches littered across the world’s oceans. If we are to prevent further damage to the marine ecosystems, it is imperative we act with the utmost urgency. Leveraging recent technological advancements in imaging capabilities, a comprehensive concept of operations has been produced detailing the satellite's lifecycle from launch to deorbit, including the crucial phases whereby data is collected and transmitted. Although this paper focuses on tracking and monitoring the GPGP, the same concept of operations has the potential to observe all five garbage patches. The proposed mission utilises two reflective indices, Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and Floating Debris Index (FDI), that will aid in differentiating surface plastics from other floating materials. For the mission to employ both NDVI and FDI, the chosen payload will require a spectral capture range from 665nm (red edge) to 1600nm (Short Wave Infrared) and would ideally have a Ground Sampling Distance (GSD) of no greater than 10m to guarantee the data collected is valuable.