One and a
half months after its launch aboard NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1)
spacecraft, the TRW Inc.-built Hyperion hyperspectral
imager is transmitting images of the Earth’s surface to ground
stations around the world. Hyperion is NASA’s first hyperspectral
imager to become operational on-orbit.

The initial images taken of northern Virginia show terrain
features, buildings, roads, vegetation and water. The images are being
processed by TRW at its Space Park facilities in California and then
returned to NASA Goddard Space Flight Center for redistribution to the
EO-1 Science Team for application demonstrations.

“We’re very pleased with the imagery being sent back by Hyperion,”
said Dale Hoffman, vice president and general manager, TRW Space &
Technology Division. “In the short time it’s been on-orbit, the
instrument has demonstrated superior performance. We believe Hyperion
will set the standard for hyperspectral imagery by providing quality
data and long-term benefits for our customers and the scientific

Hyperion sees the Earth in 220 spectral bands from the visible to
shortwave infrared with 30-meter spatial resolution. One of three
science instruments on EO-1, Hyperion captures images in a swath 7.5
kilometers by 180 kilometers with high radiometric accuracy. Images
hundreds of kilometers long will be collected routinely by Hyperion.

Data from Hyperion is providing more detail of the Earth’s surface
than is currently available from multispectral instruments, such as
the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus instrument on Landsat 7. The
detailed classification of complex land ecosystems with hyperspectral
imagery is expected to increase the accuracy of remote sensing data in
applications including mining, geology, forestry, agriculture and
environmental management.

Using hyperspectral data, minerals on the Earth’s surface can be
identified and new mineral maps can be created to select sites for
exploration; forest inventories can be developed for remote regions to
support ecological planning and management. Through the use of new
space-based capabilities, a host of issues can be addressed on a
worldwide scale.

Hyperion is TRW’s newest hyperspectral imager. TRW has been
designing and developing airborne and spaceborne hyperspectral
instruments since 1989, and its airborne instruments have completed
hundreds of hours of flight, taking images of metropolitan,
agricultural and environmentally sensitive areas. TRW provides a full
spectrum of services from planning and data acquisition to application

EO-1 is the first satellite in NASA’s New Millennium Program (NMP)
Earth Observing series. NMP is an initiative to demonstrate advanced
technologies and designs that show promise for dramatically reducing
the cost and improving the quality of instruments and spacecraft for
future space missions. EO-1’s primary focus is on developing and
testing instruments that are smaller, less expensive and more capable
than existing instruments.

TRW Space & Electronics Group builds communications, scientific
and defense spacecraft for military, civil and commercial customers.
It is an operating unit of TRW Inc., which provides advanced
technology products and services for the global automotive, aerospace,
telecommunications and information systems markets. TRW’s Web site is