The HyTI (Hyperspectral Thermal Imager) is a technology demonstration mission by the University of Hawaii at Manoa designed to demonstrate how high spatial resolution (60 m ground resolution element), high spectral resolution (25 bands) and long-wave infrared image data can be acquired to monitor water resources using a 6U CubeSat.
HyTI will map irrigated and rainfed cropland, determine crop water use and establish crop water productivity of major world crops.
The project is a collaboration with the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP), the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, West Coast Solutions, Quest Unlimited, American Infrared (AIRS), SaraniaSat, and New England Optical Systems (NEOS). It received funding from NASA’s Earth Science Technology Office InVEST program. ISISpace was contracted to provide the 6U CubeSat platform.
The novel HyTI technologies to be space validated for the first time via LEO flight are:
- Hyperspectral Imager: The HyTI Hyperspectral Imager instrument will be designed and developed by HSFL and the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP). Both HSFL and HIGP have a well-established track record of designing and successfully demonstrating state-of-the-art small satellites and imaging payloads ranging from the visible to the IR, including compact hyperspectral imaging for remote-sensing observations. Based on the Fabry-Perot Interferometer principle, the HyTI Hyperspectral Imager is a unique instrument (TRL 5), and will deliver spatial resolution similar to current Landsat-8 performance, but with higher spectral resolution. In a 430 km orbit, the HyTI instrument will have ground sampling resolution of 60 m for up to 50 spectral samples in the 8.0-10.7 micron wavelength range, with a peak signal-to-noise ratio of ~500:1. HIGP has successfully demonstrated the proposed “no moving parts” hyperspectral imager for a wide range of Department of Defense programs, as well as for a NASA Instrument Incubator Program.
- TIR Imager Focal Plane: The heart of the HyTI hyperspectral imager is a 2 Dimensional, BIRD FPA designed and developed at JPL. BIRD imagers have high uniformity, low cost, low noise and higher operating temperatures than previously-flown TIR FPAs. JPL will supply the 2D FPA within an Integrated Dewar Cooler Assembly to HSFL.
- High-Performance Onboard Computing: Onboard computing (OBC) has been the “holy grail” of scientific, remote-sensing missions. The extremely high volume (estimated 3 Petabytes over a nominal 1 year mission life) of raw hyperspectral imagery justifies the implementation of OBC. SaraniaSat Inc. has developed fast, low computational “footprint” algorithms for weak-signal detection, sensor fusion and orthorectification which, when operating on the advanced Unibap e2160 heterogeneous OBC platform, promise to achieve fast turnaround (within 24 hrs of acquisition) of the processed data and information products.
It was selected in 2019 by NASA's CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) to be launched as part of the ELaNa program.