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Naval EarthMap Observer (NEMO)

The Naval EarthMap Observer (NEMO) remote sensing program will provide unclassified, space-based hyperspectral passive imagery at moderate resolution that offers substantial potential for direct use by Naval forces and the Civil Sector. NEMO merges Navy-developed technology with commercial technology and provides a space-qualified hyperspectral imager with the coverage and sensitivity required to collect broad-area synoptic imagery over land and ocean on a global basis. During its planned five year lifetime, NEMO will map the majority of the Earth's surface, with emphasis on littoral regions. NEMO will also acquire sufficient repeat imagery over selected regions to allow information extraction algorithms to be validated over a multi-season range of geographic and environmental conditions.

The Naval EarthMap Observer (NEMO) is a space-based remote-sensing system that will collect broad-area, unclassified hyperspectral imagery (HSI) for Naval forces, the Department of Defense (DoD), and commercial communities. NEMO will use a combination of commercial industry operations and existing Defense infrastructure to provide imagery in a simple and timely manner. Applications for the imagery include detailed bathymetry, beach trafficability, vegetation, environmental monitoring, land use, geology, mineralogy, and hydrology.

The NEMO program is a joint Government and industry effort between the Space Technology Development Corporation (STDC) and its Government partner, the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). NEMO is sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency's (DARPA) Joint Dual Use Application Program (JDUAP). NEMO will provide Naval Forces and the DoD with the ability to test and demonstrate the utility of moderate spatial resolution HSI remote-sensing data to provide environmental information to the warfighter. During its planned 5-year lifetime, NEMO will map the majority of the Earth's surface.

The NEMO satellite system will carry the Coastal Ocean Imaging Spectrometer (COIS) that will provide imagery with 210 spectral channels, a bandpass of 0.4 to 2.5 m m, and will cover a 30-km swath width with a 30-m or 60-m ground sample distance (GSD). The COIS will have two spectrometers - visible near infrared (VNIR) and shortwave infrared (SWIR).

Also included in the payload will be a co-registered 5-m panchromatic imager camera (PIC) that will provide simultaneous high spatial resolution imagery. The PIC will have a 0.5 to 0.7 m m wavelength range at a 5-m GSD.

NEMO will employ NRL's automated end-to-end HSI processing system, the Optical Real-time Adaptive Signature Identification System (ORASIS). ORASIS is an algorithm that will significantly reduce the amount of data the satellite will transmit to the ground while preserving 97 to 98 percent of the data fidelity. It will offer automated and adaptive signature recognition capability, to improve the operational efficiency of analyzing both military and civil sector data sets. ORASIS is a high-speed processing system that identifies the spectral signatures corresponding to physical objects in the scene without supervision or prior knowledge.

The Naval EarthMap Observer (NEMO) is a space-based remote sensing system for collecting broad-area, synoptic, and unclassified Hyperspectral Imagery (HSI) for Naval Forces and the Civil Sector. NEMO meets unique requirements for imaging the littoral regions on a global basis, and also meets civil needs for imagery supporting land use management, agriculture, environmental studies, and mineral exploration. NEMO provides: HSI to characterize the littoral battlespace environment and to support littoral model development; Automated, on-board processing, analysis, and feature extraction using the Naval Research Laboratory's (NRL's) Optical Real-Time Adaptive Signature Identification System (ORASIS); Demonstration of real-time tactical downlink of hyperspectral end products directly to the field to support the warfighter.

HSI for Department of Defense (DoD) usage and for civil applications such as environmental monitoring, agriculture, land use, geology/mineralogy, and hydrology; and A cooperative industry and government program to share costs and leverage system utility under the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency's (DARPA) Joint Dual Use Application Program (JDUAP) via non-procurement agreements (i.e., "Other Transactions") effected under 10 U.S.C. 2371 (Congressional direction requires that at least 50 percent of the cost of a project under this initiative be provided by industry) and "Section 845, Authority to Carry Out Certain Prototype Projects."

In partnership with the Naval Research Laboratory, ICI is developing NEMO's Imagery On-Board Processor (IOBP), a real-time, space-borne multiprocessor hyperspectral image compressor. ICI is responsible for the hardware design and the software infrastructure to support the image compression algorithm.

NEMO merges Navy-developed technology with commercial technology and provides a space-qualified image of the Earth. During its planned five-year lifetime, NEMO will map the majority of the Earth's surface and will acquire repeat imagery over selected regions. This will allow information extraction algorithms to be validated, and will provide insight into the multi-dimensional view of the Earth's surface, enabling a more precise evaluation of various geographic and environmental conditions.

  • Hyperspectral Coastal Ocean Imaging Spectrometer (COIS) provides moderate spatial resolution with a 30/60 meter ground sample distance (GSD) and a 30 km swath width
  • High spectral resolution of 10 nanometers with a spectral range of 400 to 2500 nanometers
  • Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) greater than 200 over the entire spectral range (SNR is typically greater than 250 for ocean scenes)
  • Panchromatic Imaging Camera (5 meter GSD) co-registered with the Coastal Ocean Imaging Spectrometer
  • Realtime feature extraction and classification with greater than 10x data reduction using NRL's ORASIS algorithm
  • High-performance Imagery On-Board Processor (IOBP) provides greater than 2.5 gigaFLOPS of sustained computational power
  • On-board data storage (48 gigabit)
  • High data rate X-Band Downlink (150 Mbps)
  • Low data rate S-Band Tactical Downlink (1 Mbps)
  • Commercial satellite bus (Space Systems Loral LS-400)
  • Preconfigured Interface (PCI) for secondary payloads/experiments
  • Program Organization

NEMO is a joint government and industry effort between the Space Technology Development Corporation (STDC) and its government partner, the NRL. NEMO is sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and DARPA's JDUAP. ONR is leading an effort to initiate hyperspectral space science and technology activities that leverage commercial assets to meet the needs of Naval Forces, the intelligence community, and the DoD. NRL provides the design and integration of the NEMO sensor imaging payload with the commercial satellite bus, bus modifications, the on-board processor, ORASIS, and systems engineering. In addition, data products and algorithms, e.g., bathymetry, K490, bottom type, water clarity, and models for the Naval warfighter, are being developed by the Navy.

STDC and its Industry Partners will provide the commercial satellite bus, selected flight avionics components, launch services, and long-term flight operations. STDC's EarthMap is chartered to provide a broad commercial market presence and support its customers with cost-effective access to a variety of processed hyperspectral imagery with applications for government and civil users. EarthMap will provide a range of geographic information systems products and services, including data collection, processing, conversion, archiving, and distribution.

  • Mid-2000 Launch
  • 605 km, 10:30 a.m., nodal crossing Sun-Synchronous Orbit
  • Global Coverage (7 Day Repeat, 2.5 Day global average Re-Access)
  • 3 Year On-Orbit Mission Life; 5 Year Design Life
  • Commercial Ground Station (Fairbanks, AK)
  • Commercial Mission Operations Center (Washington, D.C.)
  • Prototype for Future Commercial Imaging Satellites

NEMO will provide Naval Forces and the DoD with the ability to test and demonstrate the utility of moderate spatial resolution HSI remote sensing data to provide environmental information supporting the warfighter. NEMO provides the opportunity to apply dual-use technologies, including sensor and algorithm innovations, commercial satellites, automated ground operations, and innovations in image processing and data distribution, to support new remote sensing applications and missions. The NEMO program is funded by ONR, DARPA, and commercial investments, and is being implemented by the NRL.




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