Satellite space sensor to measure coastal and ocean ecosystems

August 26, 2019  - By
Hyperspectral imagery of U.S. East Coast. (Image: NOAA)

Hyperspectral imagery of U.S. East Coast. (Image: NOAA)

Raytheon will build the Geostationary Littoral Imaging and Monitoring Radiometer (GLIMR) sensor under a contract from the University of New Hampshire. GLIMR, NASA’s selected Earth Venture Instrument-5 investigation, will be NASA’s first hyperspectral imager in geostationary (GEO) orbit.

Hyperspectral imaging collects and processes information from across the electromagnetic spectrum including visible light, infrared and ultraviolet frequencies to create a highly detailed view of physical and biological conditions in coastal waters.

The instrument will provide high-sensitivity, high-spatial and high-temporal resolution measurements of coastal and ocean ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico, parts of the southeastern U.S. coastline and the Amazon River plume.

Decision-makers will use the GLIMR data to respond rapidly to natural and manmade coastal water disasters, such as harmful algae blooms and oil spills. It will also help improve the coastal ecosystem’s sustainability and resource management.

“GLIMR will collect the sharpest and most colorful view of physical and biological conditions in coastal waters ever seen from GEO,” said Jeff Puschell, GLIMR instrument scientist and principal engineering fellow at Raytheon Space Systems. “A hyperspectral imager is essential technology to capture new insight about our changing coastal ecosystems.”

The University of New Hampshire is NASA’s lead organization for the GLIMR contract. The instrument will launch aboard its host spacecraft in the 2026-2027 timeframe. Its data will be available to scientists, researchers and educators around the world.