Observing the Earth from Low-Earth Orbit Using Modified Commercial Off-the-Shelf Digital Cameras

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By Lazar Jeftic, Solomon Appekey, Selorm Appekey

8th August 2022

Throughout the history of Earth observations from space, there have been several different types of cameras that astronauts have used to take photographs of the Earth. Color-infrared cameras were also used on board the International Space Station (ISS in further text). Preceding the digital era of photography, cameras on board the ISS used camera film for all photography. For the color infrared film they used mainly Kodak Aerochrome Infrared film. The digital color-infrared camera on board the ISS was Astro-Converted Camera modified/converted by Spencer's Camera & Photo for NASA

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In this short paper, the main intention is to present the modified commercial off-the-shelf digital cameras for the Earth observations. Three camera types are chosen with their applications and imagery examples: NIR-Green-Blue (NGB), UV reflected and Color-infrared NRG (NIR-Red-Green). Hyperspectral camera type can also be used, but it will not be presented in this paper because it is still in research and development phase. The idea is based on remote sensing of planet Earth using modified commercial cameras to develop and support with this type of cameras continuity of future Earth observations with hand-held cameras (like Astronaut Photography of Earth from ISS) and the research and development of the future Earth Observations from unmanned space missions and space stations which will be built in the near future. The Commercial Off-the-Shelf Digital Cameras are already integrated and used on Earth observation satellites like the CE-SAT-I (RGB Canon S110) and CE-SAT-IIB (RGB EOS M100) by Canon Space Development.

Read more of this paper here.

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