Hyperspectral Instrument DESIS Launches to International Space Station in 2018


CAPE CANAVERAL, FL, June 29, 2018 - At 5:43 a.m. EDT, the DLR Earth Sensing Imaging Spectrometer (DESIS) successfully launched from Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 40 onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 to the International Space Station (ISS). The German Aerospace Center’s hyperspectral instrument for environmental monitoring was developed by the DLR Institute of Optical Sensor Systems in cooperation with the U.S. Company Teledyne Brown Engineering (TBE).

The instrument is scheduled to be unpacked onboard the ISS in the days following launch and prepared for installation on TBE’s Multi-User System for Earth Sensing (MUSES) platform. DESIS will be placed into space with the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) and installed on MUSES by the Canadian robot arm (Canadarm2). Once in place, the commissioning phase will begin with status checks, calibration and verification algorithms, parameter settings and pointing adjustment to Earth. The first pictures from DESIS are expected to be taken in September of 2018.

DESIS is a hyperspectral sensor system with the capability of recording image data using 235 closely arranged channels ranging from the visual to the infrared spectrum (between 400 and 1000 nanometers) with a geometrical surface resolution of 30 meters while in ISS orbit at an altitude of 400 km in space. The data collected will enable improved global food cultivation by allowing researchers to detect changes in the ecosystem of the Earth’s surface and can aid in the assessment of the status of forests, agricultural areas and yield predictions. 

DESIS will be installed on the MUSES platform, which can simultaneously host four Earth observation instruments or payloads. TBE designed, developed and built the platform in Huntsville, AL. Instruments are installed using the Canadaarm2, mechanically locked in place, and have an independent power supply. Systems aboard the MUSES have the flexibility to be returned to Earth for repair, refurbishment or replacement and then sent back to the platform for further use and testing.  This unique return capability will allow DESIS to be returned to Earth after its lifespan of five to eight years for examination to determine the effects of exposure to space conditions.       

“Our vision was to create partnerships with DLR, NASA, CASIS and others to enable MUSES and the ISS to expand capabilities to view and assess the earth’s surface,” stated TBE’s President, Jan Hess.  “We are ecstatic to get the DESIS in place as MUSES’s first payload and have the ability to share its data with the world’s science and commercial communities.”

The cooperative relationship between DLR and TBE had a positive impact on the successful development of DESIS. Through this close partnership, the entire planning and manufacturing process took only three and a half years – an almost record-breaking achievement considering such a modern instrument designed for low-Earth orbit. DESIS and MUSES together can look forward, backward and sideways from the ISS. This high degree of agility will quickly provide information to assist rescue forces in the event of a disaster.

"With the launch and commissioning of DESIS on the MUSES platform, Teledyne Brown Engineering is enabling the ISS National Laboratory to support important remote sensing research and development programs in the future", said Ken Shields, CASIS Director of Operations. "We look forward to leveraging TBE, DESIS, and the ISS to benefit life on Earth." 

The MUSES platform coupled with DESIS will assist in the advancement of Earth imaging, mapping, disaster recovery and agricultural assessments. Hyperspectral data from DESIS will also enable the DLR institutes to build new earth observation applications for areas such as commercial applications and precision farming.

About Teledyne Brown Engineering

Teledyne Brown Engineering is an industry leader in full-spectrum engineering and advanced manufacturing solutions for harsh environments for the space, defense, energy, and marine industries.  For over six decades, the company has successfully delivered innovative systems, integration, operations and technology development worldwide. For more information about Teledyne Brown Engineering visit:  www.tbe.com

About Teledyne Technologies Incorporated

Teledyne Technologies is a leading provider of sophisticated instrumentation, digital imaging products and software, aerospace and defense electronics, and engineered systems.  Teledyne Technologies’ operations are primarily located in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Western and Northern Europe.  For more information, visit Teledyne Technologies’ website at www.teledyne.com.