HSFL in collaboration with The Hawaiʻi Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) and the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) and has a diverse and experienced instrument-developing group for remote sensing and other applications.

Hyper-Spectral Imaging

The Space Ultra-Compact Hyperspectral Imager (SUCHI) was developed by HIGP in collaboration with HSFL. Each pixel from the SUCHI payload contains over 250 data points to create a series of infrared intensities for wavelengths between 8.5 to 13 microns. Information from the intensity versus wavelength can be used to identify materials, and specific wavelengths can reveal what can't be seen by the naked eye.

This instrument is the first version of the new hyperspectral imaging technology that has been hardened and spacecraft integrated for autonomous operation.

  • Spectrometer Type: Variable-gap Fabry-Perot Interferometer
  • Detector: 320x256 Pixel Microbolometer
  • Spectral Range: 8.5-13 microns

  • Spectral Resolution: 20 wavenumbers
  • Ground sample distance @ 400km: 230 meters
  • Swath width/length: 59km / 230km
  • Self-calibrating with temperature-controlled blackbody shutters
  • IFOV/FOV: 1mrad/10 degrees
  • F-number: f/1.2

HSFL/Separation Imager Payload

In addition to co-registration of imagery, HIP was intended to take color pictures of the Earth, and SIP was intended to image the separation of the satellite from the launch vehicle.  Separation imagery was originally intended to verify the condition of the Super Strypi / SPARK launch vehicle's 3rd stage, just before it deploys its 12 other satellite payloads.

  • 2x 5MP Color Cameras
  • Hardened for Launch Environment
  • Thermal Enhancements for Performance in Vacuum
  • Narrow FOV Lens Ground Sample Distance @ 400km: 33.9m
  • WideFOV Lens Ground Sample Distance @ 400km: 91.5m
SUCHI Payload: A) Main SUCHI Instrument Structure, B) SUCHI Instrument Internals
Example Co-Registered Image from HIP, SIP, and SUCHI

Space Ultra-Compact Hyper-Spectral Imaging (SUCHI)

The Space-Ultra Compact Hyperspectral Imager is a long wave infrared hyperspectral imager being built at the University of Hawaiʻi. The sensor will be the primary payload on the HiakaSat small satellite scheduled for launch on the Office of Responsive Space ORS-4 mission, and planned for a 6 month primary mission which is extendable up to two years of operation on orbit. SUCHI is based on a variable-gap Fabry-Perot interferometer employed as a Fourier transform spectrometer and uses an uncooled 320x256 microbolometer array to collect the images. The sensor is low volume (16” x 4” x 5") and low mass (<9kg), to conform to the volume, mass, and power requirements of the small satellite. The commercial microbolometer camera and vacuum-sensitive electronics are contained within a sealed vessel pressurized to 1 atm. The sensor will collect spectral radiance data in the long wave infrared region (8-14 microns) and demonstrate the potential of this instrument for advancing the geological sciences (e.g. mapping of major rock-forming minerals) as well as for volcanic hazard assessment (mapping volcanic ash, quantification of volcanic sulfur dioxide pollution and lava flow cooling rates).

  • Fabry-Perot FTIR
  • Uncooled 320x256 microbolometer array
  • Sensitivity 20 mK or better at 30 Hz frame rates, F1.4
  • Approx. 220 m ground resolution from 500 km
  • 7 wave channels between 7 and 14 μm

Thermal Hyperspectral Imager

A novel niche for Earth observations exploiting new technologies in focused, short-duration missions is opening with the growth of the market for small satellites. To demonstrate the ways in which a university's scientific and instrument development programs can innovate under this new model, we are building a low-cost thermal IR spectral sensor. The sensor is a low-mass, power-efficient thermal hyperspectral imager (THI) with electronics contained in a pressure vessel to enable the use of commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) electronics.

  • Uncooled 320x256 microbolometer array
  • Sagnac Interferometer
  • Approx. 120 m data from an altitude of 500 km
  • 40 spectral bands between 8-14 microns, with peak SNK of 1000:1

Thermal Infra-Red Compact Imaging Spectrometer (TIRCIS)

The Thermal Infrared Compact Imaging Spectrometer (TIRCIS) is a long wave infrared (LWIR, 8-14 microns) hyperspectral imager designed as the follow-on to the University of Hawaii’s SUCHI (Space Ultra Compact Hyperspectral Imager). SUCHI is a low-mass (<9kg), low-volume (10x12x40cm³) LWIR spectrometer designed as the primary payload on the University of Hawaii-built 'HiakaSat' microsatellite. SUCHI is based on a variable-gap Fabry Perot interferometer employed as a Fourier transform spectrometer with images collected by a commercial off-the-shelf microbolometer contained inside a 1-atm sealed vessel. The sensor has been fully integrated with the HiakaSat microsatellite and is awaiting launch in 2015.

The TIRCIS instrument is based on the same principles but takes lessons learned from SUCHI and applies them to a new design with improvements in spatial resolution, spectral resolution and spectral responsivity. The TIRCIS instrument is based on an uncooled microbolometer array with custom detector coatings to enhance responsivity towards 7 microns. Like SUCHI, TIRCIS utilizes a variable-gap Fabry Perot interferometer to create the spectra, but three different interferometer wedges with varying slopes resulting in spectral resolution ranging from 44 cm⁻¹ to 6.5 cm⁻¹ will be tested to explore tradeoffs between spectral resolution and sensitivity. TIRCIS is designed to achieve 120 m spatial resolution, compared with 230 m for SUCHI, from a theoretical 500 km orbit.

  • Fabry-Perot interferometer
  • Uncooled microbolometer array
  • Approx. 120 m data from an altitude of 500 km
  • 90 spectral bands between 7.5-14 microns
  • Mass < 10 kg, Dims. 53 cm x 25 cm x 22 cm

CubeSat Infrared Hyperspectral Imager

he HyTI (Hyperspectral Thermal Imager) mission, funded by NASA’s Earth Science Technology Office InVEST (In-Space Validation of Earth Science Technologies) program, will demonstrate how high spectral and spatial long-wave infrared image data can be acquired from a 6U CubeSat platform. The mission will use a spatially modulated interferometric imaging technique to produce spectro-radiometrically calibrated image cubes, with 25 channels between 8-10.7 microns, at 13 wavenumber resolution), at a ground sample distance of ~60 m. The HyTI performance model indicates narrow band NEdTs of <0.3 K.

  • Fabry-Perot interferometer
  • Crycooled
  • 90 spectral bands  between 8-10.7 microns
  • Approx. 60 m data from an altitude of 500 km
  • General Purpose Imager
  • Resolution 2448 x 2050
  • Sensor Size: 2/3"
  • monochrome and Color
  • Frame rate: 15 fps