ISS: JEM/Kibo-EF - HREP
ISS Utilization: JEM/Kibo-EF (Exposed Facility) experiments of USA
HREP (HICO-RAIDS Experiment Payload)
HREP represents the first two US payloads allocated for deployment on the JEM/Kibo-EF of Japan. According to the JAXA/NASA agreement, the ten JEM/Kibo-EF experiment modules are evenly shared between the two countries, Japan and USA.
HICO (Hyperspectral Imager for the Coastal Ocean) and RAIDS (Remote Atmospheric and Ionospheric Detection System) are two technology demonstration instruments designed and developed at NRL (Naval Research Laboratory), Washington D. C.
In the spring of 2007, the combined payload of HICO and RAIDS, referred to as HREP, was manifested for the Japanese Experiment Module – Exposed Facility (JEM-EF) on the International Space Station (ISS). HICO and RAIDS are being flown under the STP (Space Test Program) of DoD. As of fall 2008, both instruments are ready for payload integration. 1) 2) 3) 4) 5)
Launch: A launch of HREP took place on Sept. 10, 2009 (UTC) on the inaugural flight of the Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV-1) to the ISS. The launch site is the Tanegashima Space Center located off the southern coast of Japan.
After the HTV-1 docked with JEM, a mechanical arm, referred to as JEM-RMS (JEM-Remote Manipulator System), transferred the HREP assembly to the JEM-EF instrument slot.
Initial status of HREP:
• HREP has been performing science operations since October 23, 2009, collecting temperature data around the globe in the 100 to 200 km altitude range, an altitude region with a paucity of previous temperature measurements.
• Afterwards in September 2009, the HREP instrumentation successfully progressed through a series of internal electrical verification checks that culminated in the release of the latching mechanism and the initiation of the scanning motion for the sensor section of the instrument.
• Transfer from the HTV and installation of HREP was carried out on Sept. 24, 2009 using Kibo's robotic arm (JEM-RMS). Then, the HREP was removed from the HTV Exposed Pallet (EP) and installed on the JEM-EF at attachment position No. 6. 7)
HICO (Hyperspectral Imager for the Coastal Ocean)
HICO is an INP (Innovative Naval Prototype) instrument sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR), Washington, D. C. In 2005, ONR and the Naval Research laboratory (NRL) began a program to design, build, and operate the first spaceborne hyperspectral imagers optimized for the coastal ocean. This transition to space platforms is based on more than a decade of airborne hyperspectral imaging experience at NRL and other laboratories, which provides the basis for imager performance requirements and algorithms for atmospheric removal and littoral product retrievals. 8) 9) 10) 11)
The HICO instrument incorporates COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) components, including a CCD camera, a rotation mechanism, and a computer to reduce schedule and cost. To facilitate this approach, hermetic enclosures are used for the camera, computers and electronics.
The NRL HICO team built and tested the HICO instrument in only 16 months. Partners in the HICO team were NASA, SDL (Space Dynamics Laboratory) of Utah State University (USU), University of Hawaii, Oregon State University, and Brandywine Optics, Chester, PA. SDL and the University of Hawaii teamed with NOVASOL to build the HICO instrument. 12)
The airborne instrument of NRL that preceded HICO was called PHILLS (Portable Hyperspectral Imager for Low Light Spectroscopy). The Ocean PHILLS was specifically designed to produce high quality hyperspectral imagery of the coastal environment. In conclusion, two key elements in this success were the VS-15 Offner spectrograph, which produced an image with minimal smile and keystone distortion, and the thinned backside-illuminated CCD cameras which provided a high quantum efficiency in the blue. Both the spectral and radiometric responses of the instrument were highly linear. All of the components of the Ocean PHILLS were commercially available. Excellent agreement between atmospherically corrected remote-sensing spectra and ground-truth radiometric measurements was demonstrated. 13)
Ground sample distance
100 m @ nadir (sufficient for many coastal environmental features)
0.38 - 1.0 µm (VNIR, includes all water penetrating wavelengths)
5.7 nm spectral bin width (sufficient to resolve spectral features in coastal scenes)
> 200 (for water-penetrating wavelengths, assuming 5% effective surface albedo and 11 nm spectral bins)
5% or better (required to fit image data to physical models to retrieve environmental data products)
5% or less (to preserve radiometric accuracy when observing polarized scene)
50 km x 200 km nominal (appropriate for coastal scene sizes)
1 year minimum (required to collect data over all seasons)
The overall objective of HREP-HICO is to launch and operate a rapid-development, cost-constrained VNIR (Visible and Near-Infrared) Maritime Hyperspectral Imaging (MHSI) system, to demonstrate the detection, identification and quantification of littoral (coast of an ocean or sea) and terrestrial geophysical features. HICO will validate the performance of MHSI technology in space and demonstrate its utility to meet DoD requirements. The instrument will provide an initial data stream to introduce new DoD users to MHSI data products and develop data dissemination channels. Hyperspectral image data from HICO also has significant application in the civil remote sensing community.
Coastal imaging complexity:
Visible and near infrared wavelengths in the approximate range 0.4 to 0.8 µm constitute the only portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that penetrates water and directly probes the water column. In the coastal environment where the water contains significant dissolved and suspended matter and the bottom may be visible, the scene image is spectrally complicated requiring well-calibrated hyperspectral imaging to retrieve bathymetry, bottom type, chlorophyll content, and water inherent optical properties. 14)
Furthermore the coastal ocean scene is dark, with an albedo of only a few percent, and from space it is viewed through the atmosphere which is significantly brighter in the visible wavelengths than the water surface, due to scattered sunlight. These conditions impose stringent requirements for a MHSI system which are in general not met by systems designed for land applications (Figure 6).
Hyperspectral imaging of the littoral zone from space offers repeat, all-season coverage of coastal zones worldwide to produce environmental products including bathymetry, water clarity, suspended and dissolved matter, bottom type, classification of on-shore vegetation, and the opportunity to build time series of images to initialize and validate predictive coastal models. However, hyperspectral imaging of the littoral environment involves specific challenges not found in hyperspectral imaging of the land. While land generally presents a bright, high albedo scene, the coastal ocean has a low albedo and is dark. In fact, when a maritime scene is viewed from a high-altitude aircraft or space, the scattered light from the atmosphere is significantly brighter than the underlying water scene over most of the visible spectrum (Figure 7), and careful removal of the effects of the atmosphere is required to obtain accurate water-leaving radiances. Water surface reflections of both direct sunlight and sky background are also significant and must be accounted for (Ref. 8).
Legend to Figure 7: The spectral radiance is modeled above the atmosphere for 5% surface albedo and 45 degree solar zenith angle. In the blue wavelengths, the atmosphere (total minus surface) is significantly brighter than the surface.
Initial calibration and processing of the HICO data is performed at the NRL Remote Sensing Division. The data is then sent to NRL's Oceanography Division at Stennis Space Center, Miss., for further processing, archiving, and distribution to government users. Data will also be archived at Oregon State University, which is the primary repository for distribution of HICO data products to civilian users. The Office of Naval Research (ONR) as part of their "Space Innovative Naval Prototype" program funded HICO instrument design and fabrication.
Status of HICO:
• March 20, 2015: HICO operations ended. In September 2014 during an X-class solar storm, HICO's computer took a severe radiation hit, from which it never recovered. Over the past several months, engineers at NRL and NASA have attempted to restart the computer and have conducted numerous tests to find alternative pathways to communicate with it. None of these attempts have been successful. So it is with great sadness that we bid a fond farewell to HICO. 15)
- Yet we rejoice that HICO performed splendidly for five years, despite being built in only 18 months from non space-hardened, commercial-off-the-shelf parts for a bargain price. Having met all its Navy goals in the first year, HICO was granted a two-year operations extension from the Office of Naval Research and then NASA stepped in to sponsor this ISS-based sensor, extending HICO's operations another two years. All told, HICO operated for 5 years, during which it collected approximately 10,000 hyperspectral scenes of the Earth.
- Most of the HICO scenes taken over sites worldwide are available now, and will remain accessible to researchers through two websites: http://oceancolor.gsfc.nasa.gov/cms/ and http://hico.coas.oregonstate.edu/. HICO will live on through research conducted by scientists using HICO data, especially studies exploring the complexities of the world's coastal oceans.
• In mid-2013, the HICO imagery is being made available to Earth scientists and environmental researchers. Now that the instrument has completed its primary mission of collecting regional coastal ocean data for civilian and naval research, NASA will continue to support HICO and encourage new users. 16)
• January 2013: The HREP-HICO instrumentation is operational in 2013. 17)
- HICO was developed by NRL ( Naval Research Laboratory) for the Office of Naval Research (ONR) as an Innovative Naval Prototype (INP). HICO exceeded all its objectives as an INP instrument and continues to operate after 3 plus years. ONR also supported the first three years of operations including the development and operation of the HICO website at OSU (Oregon State University). This ONR support ended in December 2012.
With the expiration of ONR funding, NASA's International Space Station (ISS) Program has agreed to provide funding such that the operation of HICO, including the OSU HICO website and data distribution, can continue. In the near term, NRL will continue to operate HICO and OSU will still manage the HICO website using established procedures. 18)
• In 2010, the HICO (Hyperspectral Imager for the Coastal Ocean) instrument is collecting hyperspectral imaging data in the wavelength range of 0.4 – 1.0 µm with a spatial resolution of approximately 90 m and a spectral resolution of 5.7 nm. During the construction of the HICO instrument, it was not possible to place a blocking filter in front of the CCD (Charge-Coupled Device) array located in the focal plane. As a result, the second order light from the shorter visible spectral region falls onto the detectors covering the near-IR spectral region above 0.8 µm. In order to have accurate radiometric calibrations of the near-IR channels, the second order light effects need to be removed. Through analysis of HICO imaging data containing features of shallow underwater objects, such as a coral reef, the project has developed a new empirical technique to correct for the second order light effects. 21) 22)
• On Sept. 24, 2009, HICO was installed on ISS JEM-EF (Japanese Experiment Module - Exposed Facility).
RAIDS (Remote Atmospheric and Ionospheric Detection System)
RAIDS is a hyperspectral satellite experiment suite, designed and developed in a joint project between NRL (Naval Research Laboratory), Washington, D. C. and the Aerospace Corporation of El Segundo, CA. The PI is Scott Budzien of NRL.
The goal of the RAIDS experiment is to obtain a set of simultaneous airglow profiles at a number of wavelengths which will be used to develop and evaluate techniques for neutral atmospheric and ionospheric remote sensing. The RAIDS instrumentation will acquire a global database of airglow intensities which will be used in conjunction with, and compared to, theoretical models of radiation transport, photochemistry and dynamics to examine in detail the relationships between atmospheric composition and airglow. The primary focus of RAIDS will be on the remote sensing of the ionosphere since there is considerable interest by the ionospheric and high frequency propagation communities in monitoring the ionosphere in real-time on a global basis. 24) 25) 26) 27)
Background: The RAIDS experiment was originally developed through the support of the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the DoD Space Test Program (STP) to fly aboard the NOAA-J satellite (NOAA-14 on-orbit, launch Dec. 30, 1994), and both organizations provided support to refit and integrate the experiment for this new ISS mission opportunity. - However, when NOAA-13 (-I) failed 12 days after launch (launch on Aug. 9, 1993) due to a power loss of the S/C, the SSBUV (Shuttle Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet) instrument replaced RAIDS on NOAA-J, and RAIDS was mothballed. Thereafter, many different launch opportunities were explored for RAIDS - when a new launch opportunity turned up to fly RAIDS and HICO as an integrated experiment payload on the Japanese JEM-EF of ISS (International Space Station).
Both organizations (ONR and the DoD STP) provided support to refit and integrate the RAIDS experiment for this new ISS mission opportunity. As of fall 2008, RAIDS as well as HICO were ready for payload integration.
RAIDS science objectives:
• Lower thermosphere temperature & composition (primary objective). Complete description of the major constituents of the thermosphere and ionosphere:
- Investigate temperature and compositional structure, including solar activity, seasonal, latitudinal variations
- Investigate importance of internal and external forcing in the region 100-300 km.
• Ionosphere (secondary objectives)
- Measure initial O+ 834 source, separately from multiple scattering source
- Comprehensive nightglow observations of O+(911/6300/7774 A)
• Chemistry (secondary objectives)
- Global distribution of minor species
- Basic understanding of their role in chemical and ionic reactions in the lower thermosphere.
The RAIDS measurement approach is to provide limb-view airglow observations in the UV and visible spectral regions.
- Limb radiances from EUV (55 nm) to NIR (870 nm) covering the 90–350 km altitude range
- Atmospheric composition retrieved by inverting limb radiances using state-of-the-art science algorithms
- Monitor dynamic variability in response to space weather and forcing from lower atmosphere.
Passband & resolution (A)
FOV (Field of View)
Integration time (s)
Aperture area (mm2)
Telemetry allocation (bit/s)
550 - 1110 @ 12.5
0.1o x 2.4o
70 x 70
1300 - 1700 @ 7.0
4.0o x 0.1o
21 x 25
1903 - 3170 @ 9.5
0.1o x 2.1o
42 x 50
2950 - 3993 @ 7.0
0.1o x 2.1o
21 x 25
7223 - 8744 @ 8.4
0.1o x 2.1o
21 x 25
5890 A Photometer
0.1o x 2.1o
6300 A Photometer
0.2o x 2.1o
42 x 50
7774 A Photometer
0.2o x 2.1o
42 x 50
Photometers: The RAIDS NIR suite contains three photometers centered at 777.4 nm, 630.0 nm, and 765.0 nm wavelengths. This is changed from the original design where a 589 nm photometer for measuring sodium emission has been replace with a 765 nm photometer for measuring O2 Atm. 28) 29)
All three RAIDS photometers have a similar optical design, shown in Figure 15. The 777Phot and the 630 Phot consist of 1/4 m focal length telescopes with an aperture of 42 mm x 50 mm. The 765 Phot has a 1/8 m telescope with an aperture of 21 mm x 25 mm.
The 1/8 m NIR instruments are intended to operate during the day to provide accurate radiance profiles vertically above the limb in the presence of significant sources of background and scattered light. As a result the off-axis rejection performance of the telescope and suppression of internal scattering are very important in these instruments. In operation, there are strong vertical gradients in the emission rate of the O2 Atm band that drives the requirement for good off-axis rejection. Also, near the lower limits of the altitude scan, Rayleigh scattered sunlight is important. Sources also include Earthshine, sun light scattered from the lower atmosphere, solar scattered light from structures on the ISS, and direct sunlight.
Prior to any modifications to the photometers, an off-axis rejection test was performed to quantify any changes in the performance of the baffle system since the early tests on the system. The new tests were performed at NRL. Because of the similarity between all four telescopes in terms of material, paint, and baffle system, the highest priority sensor, 765 Phot, was selected for testing The instrument was not removed from the RAIDS instrument, so the full RAIDS package to be maneuvered with a rotation/translation stage. The fiber optic from the telescope was connected to a laboratory photomultiplier for the test. A high voltage supply, counter and current monitor completed the configuration setup. The dynamic range of the photomultiplier system using current measurements and photon counting modes was approximately ten orders of magnitude. A white light point source was provided by a collimated beam using a Gemini 300 white light source at 44 ft from RAIDS.
NIR spectrometer: The NIR spectrometer, illustrated in Figure 16, consists of an 1/8 m telescope with baffling, an f/5, 1/8 m focal length Ebert-Fastie monochromator using off-axis spherical mirrors, transfer optics, an order sorting filter, fiber transfer optics, photomultiplier detector, and electronics. Housed by the spectrometer, the grating has a ruled area of 25 mm x 25 mm with 1800 lines/mm and with the first order blaze at 750 nm. It had an original efficiency of 40%. Within the 740-870 nm wavelength range, the slit function is triangular with a FWHM of 0.84.
Due to schedule and cost limitations, no modifications were made to the NIR spectrometer itself. The project performed calibration work to determine whether the instrument aged in storage.
Detector box modifications: A significant amount of the refurbishment activities focused on the detector box that houses the photomultiplier tubes and the HV/PAD (High Voltage/Pulse Amplitude Discriminator) units shown in Figure 14. The detector box is connected optically to the four instruments using 3 mm diameter fiber optic cables of various lengths. One side of the detector box consists of a radiator panel that extends past the main box dimensions (Figure 14).
The final detector box modification involved the radiator panel and box housing. To minimize the dark count rates, the PMTs must be cooled to at least -20°C. Based on analysis of the new thermal environment to be experienced by RAIDS on the ISS, a larger radiator was affixed to the box. This resulted in a slight modification to one side of the housing that connects to the radiator panel. Additionally, all four fiber optic cables were replaced.
Status of RAIDS:
• Dec. 31, 2014: RAIDS was installed on ISS September 24, 2009, and began science operations one month later. RAIDS measured airglow emissions, specifically the 61.7 and 83.4 nanometer (nm) singly ionized oxygen (oxygen that has lost one electron) emission bands. Airglow is the weak atmospheric light generated from the reaction between solar radiation and atoms or molecules in the upper atmosphere. The singly ionized oxygen (O II) 61.7 nm emission band can be used to monitor photoionization (the process in which one or more electrons are ejected from an atom after it absorbs energy) of atomic oxygen in the lower atmosphere. The O II 61.7 nm emission altitude profile, measured for the first time by RAIDS, will be used to adjust current airglow models. The O II 83.4 nm emission band responds to changes in ionospheric density and so can be used to monitor global changes in the ionosphere. RAIDS data were used to improve models of the daytime O2 atmospheric band, or A-band, emission, which is one of the brightest emission features observed in the visible and near infrared region of the airglow spectrum. RAIDS also measured the temperature profile of the O2 A-band, which, while in rough agreement with model predictions, was warmer than predicted values above 100 km in altitude. 30)
• May 17, 2012: NRL scientists have obtained a first-ever measured altitude profile of a dim extreme-ultraviolet terrestrial airglow emission. This provides vital information needed to test and improve the accuracy of advanced techniques for remote sensing of the daytime ionosphere. 31)
• The RAIDS instrument is operating "nominally" (i.e. with a stuck scan drive) in 2012. RAIDS provides significant new measurements of thermospheric temperature in an undersampled altitude region (120-165 km). 32)
The RAID instrument scans the atmosphere up and down—or, it did. The project scanned from basically the space station altitude all the way to the Earth's surface, looking down below the horizon.
• Then, in December 2010, the scan drive electrically malfunctioned and RAIDS got stuck "pointed down on the atmosphere looking at a slant." - Electrical malfunctions aren't unusual for hardware operating in the harsh environment of space. - Even so, according to Scott Budzien, "It was a one year mission, and the scan platform worked for 15 months, so we were pleased with that."
While RAIDS was fully operational, it led to three important scientific discoveries:
1) First, the project was strongly focused on understanding the temperature of the atmosphere between about 100 km above the surface up to about 150 km above the surface - a really difficult altitude range to measure. By targeting near-infrared wavelengths, Budzien's team—and partners at The Aerospace Corporation in El Segundo, California—"produced some of the first global measurements of temperature through that altitude range."
NRL's breakthrough came from understanding the processes that affect the different energy levels of oxygen molecules as they collide and temperature. "There are many different energy levels in the oxygen molecule," says Budzien. "Depending on temperature and how these molecules are getting knocked around, that affects the population of the energy states, and so the spectrum changes shape." He concludes, "Depending on the fine shade of color at the near infrared wavelengths, we can figure out what the temperature is."
2) The second discovery had to do with measuring the electron density of the ionosphere. Andrew Stephan, an NRL scientist also on the project, "devised a technique by looking at two different extreme ultraviolet bands to make a more precise measurement of the daytime ionosphere." He and partners at Boston University validated the technique against ground-based radar.
3) While RAIDS now collects much less scientific data, it's still useful for understanding how these types of instruments hold up in space. As an example, Budzien's team learned that RAIDS' sensitive optical sensors still perform well aboard the ISS. "People were afraid that because of the manned presence and vehicles that come and go all the time, that the environment would be too dirty to collect extreme ultraviolet science data as we do," he says. "So our experiment contributes to lifetime studies for sensors on the ISS."
But Budzien hasn't given up yet on repairing RAIDS. He's proposed to build a jack that one of the robotic arms already on ISS could use to "point [RAIDS] at a new altitude that would be more scientifically interesting. And then we could collect more data and do world class science all over again."
• In June 2010, RAIDS has completed eight months of science operations aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The experiment continues to obtain high-quality atmospheric measurements using the extreme-ultraviolet (EUV) spectrograph; mid-ultraviolet (MUV), near-ultraviolet (NUV), and near-infrared (NIR) spectrometers; and the 630 nm, 766 nm, and 777.4 nm photometers. 34) 35)
• RAIDS has been performing science operations since October 23, 2009, collecting temperature data around the globe in the 100 to 200 km altitude range, an altitude region with a paucity of previous temperature measurements.
• RAIDS successfully completed its month-long commissioning process on October 22, 2009, and started its first month of science operations from its vantage point on the ISS. The experiment collected high-quality atmospheric spectra using the EUV spectrograph; MUV, NUV, and NIR spectrometers; and the 630 nm, 766 nm, and 777.4 nm photometers. 36)
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32) A. B. Christensen, J.-H. S. Yee, R. Bishop, S. A. Budzien, J. H. Hecht, G. G. Sivjee, A. W. Stephan , "Observations of molecular oxygen Atmospheric band emission in the thermosphere using the near infrared spectrometer on the ISS/RAIDS experiment," Journal of Geophysical Research, 2012, doi:10.1029/2011JA016838, in press.
33) Kyra Wiens, "Five Years of Operations! NRL's Two Space Station Sensors Look at Coastal Oceans, Ionosphere," NRL. Feb. 5, 2015, URL: http://www.nrl.navy.mil/media/news-releases/2015/five-years-of-operations-nrls-two-space-station-sensors-look-at-coastal-oceans-ionosphere
34) "RAIDS Science Operations Optimized," RAIDS Newsletter 6, June 23, 2010
35) S A Budzien, R L Bishop, A W Stephan, A B Christensen, J H Hecht, K Minschwaner, S Bailey, P R Straus, "RAIDS Mid- and Low-latitude Observations of the Thermosphere and Ionosphere," C/NOFS Workshop, May 18-20, 2010, Breckenridge, CO, USA
36) "RAIDS Begins Science Operations," RAIDS Newsletter 5, Dec. 14, 2009,
The information compiled and edited in this article was provided by Herbert J. Kramer from his documentation of: "Observation of the Earth and Its Environment: Survey of Missions and Sensors" (Springer Verlag) as well as many other sources after the publication of the 4th edition in 2002. - Comments and corrections to this article are always welcome for further updates (firstname.lastname@example.org).