A long period of waiting has come to an end. Ten years ago DLR and GFZ decided to jointly purchase a hyperspectral sensor. This aircraft camera was intended to be unique worldwide, recording for every pixel a high-resolution and precisely calibrated spectrum from the visible to the thermal infrared range. This goal turned out to be too ambitious; the hyperspectral ARES instrument, sharing the name of the god of war, lost the battle and came to nothing. Over the years the research focus also shifted as Germany decided to develop a national hyperspectral satellite, EnMAP. This mission required a technically similar aircraft sensor for optimizing the analytic procedures ahead of time and validating the data and products during operation.
This type of sensor has now been procured. It is a commercial system produced by the Norwegian company Norsk Elektro Optikk (NEO) and going by the name of HySpex. As with EnMAP, it consists of two imaging spectrometers for the 400 – 1000 nm and 1000 – 2500 nm spectral ranges. End of November the handing over took place at the manufacturer’s premises where the functionality was confirmed. The sensor arrived in Oberpfaffenhofen on December 13.
Now preparations are underway for obtaining approval for installation on aircraft and in the course of the next few months the sensor will be precisely characterized at the Calibration Home Base, the EOC‘s optics lab. The first test flight on DLR’s Cessna C 208B is scheduled for beginning of 2012. Then the HySpex sensor system will be integrated into the OpAiRS (Optical Airborne Remote Sensing and Calibration Facility) service portfolio and available to the user community.
Technical systems data and information about the course of the acceptance inspection can be found on the NEO Internet site (see list of links at right).