HyperScout is a special camera made to fit satellites as small as a milk carton and it has been launched into space in February 2018 onboard the ESA GOMX-4B satellite. It records what happens down on Earth in many more colors than a human eye is able to distinguish.
HyperScout is suitable when compactness, rapid and cost-constrained development are mission drivers. High revisit times (sub-daily) at a global scale are achieved with the deployment of a limited number of units. With such a system it is possible to observe phenomena with a high speed of change as well as delivery of the processed information and coordinates in quasi real-time. Among many suitable applications are the monitoring of natural disasters such as floods, forest fires, desertification, ice detection and monitoring, crop monitoring, change detection and classification.
In 2018 HyperScout demonstrated in space that processing spectral imagery directly (without data downlink) is possible while in orbit and that changing and fine-tuning the camera’s intelligence with the newest algorithms made available by the brightest scientists on Earth can be a recurrent and safe action.
Even in these extraordinary days of restrictions against the COVID-19 virus, where everything seems to slow down, HyperScout is recording spectral imagery. In April 2020 HyperScout acquired a spectral data set over the Netherlands. The sky is calm, reflecting what is happening on the ground, no contrails in sight and the light reflected from the Dutch land can be collected without any obstructions, resulting in clear and complete images. “HyperScout, so small and so full of power, can still safely operate after 2 years and 3 months in space. Another box can be ticked, it is called reliability,” says Marco Esposito, cosine business unit manager remote sensing and HyperScout project manager.
HyperScout has been developed by cosine (NL) under GSTP contract with ESA TEC MMO and with the support of VITO NV (BE) and S&T AS (NO).
ESA has published the following articles on this subject:
HyperScout view of Netherlands
Milk-carton-sized HyperScout making hyperspectral Earth views