NASA Hyperspectral Thermal Imager (HYTI) Mission use case


Unibap’s iX5100 in NASA 6U CubeSat

NASA selected the “Hyperspectral Thermal Imager, HYTI” mission in 2018 to demonstrate the potential for precision farming and other applications based on spectral thermal data in a small satellite form factor. The HYTI satellite itself measures 30 cm x 20 cm x 10 cm according to the CubeSat standard six units (6U). In practice, comparable to the size 46 shoe box. The project is funded by NASA’s ROSES Earth Observation Program (ESTO) and utilizes a camera technology from NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Illustration of HYTI with its inner contents and unfolded solar panels. Made by Hawaii Spaceflight Laboratory, University of Hawaii.

Unibap’s SpaceCloud solution, iX5100 is used onboard for the collection and data processing of the camera sensor data and for communication back to earth.

The ring in the image above shows where the iX5100 solution is located inside the satellite. The iX5100 occupies approximately 10 cm x 10 cm x 5 cm and provides the system with health monitoring, data transfer, data storage, data processing with a heterogeneous architecture (CPU, GPU, FPGA) and as an alternative dedicated AI accelerator.

Illustration of iX5100 functionality on the HYTI mission

An overview of iX5100 features in satellites is shown below.

Onboard the HYTI satellite, the iX5100 solution processes approximately 464 megabits per second (Mbps) of real-time data from the spectral thermal sensor and has up to 240 GB of non-volatile data storage.
A spectral thermal sensor, i.e. A camera that can look deep into the infrared spectrum can, from space, study the properties of plants and surfaces in the infrared spectrum. It can be used, among other things, to see volcanic eruptions, oil spills, virus-attacked arable land and forests or forest fires.
There is more information to read from the system integrator, i.e. who is building the satellite which in this case is the University of Hawaii. Here are some links with information.