Switzerland: UNOSAT and the Centre for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) of US have started a collaboration on technology applications that aims to develop and deploy a next-generation high resolution, multi-band hyperspectral imaging system onboard the International Space Station (ISS). Because of its specific location in low orbit around the earth, the ISS provides a premier vantage point from which to observe our planet. For some applications the imagery coming from the station may turn out to be more impactful than many traditional earth observation satellites.
Once operational, the system should be able to support a variety of applications including water and forest-management, environmental management and territorial planning, emergency response, recovery and risk reduction. The particular path followed by the ISS will take the new sensor over areas hosting 90% of Earth’s population. The data stream will be made available to academic institutions, UN entities and national agencies, and other not for profit organizations. It is expected that in time new applications using this hyperspectral sensor will be developed by research partners.
As part of the agreement, UNITAR and CASIS will work together to develop outreach and educational projects, with a specific focus on activities implemented by the UNOSAT Programme to increase capacity in developing and vulnerable countries. UNOSAT will serve as the lead expert in capacity development, applications and training and will work as a bridge between implementing partners and beneficiaries. CASIS will manage the efforts to design, launch, and operate the hyperspectral sensor onboard the ISS, soliciting innovative proposals from both the academic/not-for-profit sectors as well as the commercial market.