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Seahawk: An Advanced Cubesat Mission for Sustained Ocean Color Monitoring

By Hazel Jeffrey, John M. Morrison, Hessel Gorter, Frederick S. Pratt, Craig Clark, Pamela Anderson, Gene C. Feldman and Alan Holmes

Abstract

Sustained ocean color monitoring is vital to understanding the marine ecosystem. It has been identified as an Essential Climate Variable (ECV) and is a vital parameter in understanding long-term climate change. Furthermore, observations can be beneficial in observing oil spills, harmful algal blooms and the health of fisheries. Space-based remote sensing, through MERIS, SeaWiFS and MODIS instruments, have provided a means of observing the vast area covered by the ocean which would otherwise be impossible using ships alone. However, the large pixel size makes measurements of lakes, rivers, estuaries and coastal zones difficult. Furthermore, retirement of a number of widely used and relied upon ocean observation instruments, particularly MERIS and SeaWiFS, leaves a significant gap in ocean color observation opportunities. This paper presents an overview of the SeaHawk mission, a collaborative effort between Clyde Space Ltd., the University of North Carolina Wilmington, Cloudland Instruments, and Goddard Spaceflight Center, funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The goal of the project is to enhance the ability to observe ocean color in high temporal and spatial resolution through use of a low-cost, next-generation ocean color sensor flown aboard a CubeSat. The final product will be 530 times smaller (0.0034 vs 1.81cu m) and 115 time less massive (3.4 vs 390.0 kg) but with a ground resolution 10 times better whilst maintaining a signal/noise ratio 50 that of SeaWiFs. This paper will describe the objectives of the mission, outline the payload specification and the spacecraft platform to support it

Topics: Oceanography
Year: 2016
OAI identifier: oai:casi.ntrs.nasa.gov:20170008027
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