NRL to Develop Navy Earth Map Observer (NEMO)

12/12/1997 - 84-97r
Contact: Public Affairs Office, (202) 767-2541

The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) is developing the Navy Earth Map Observer (NEMO) imaging satellite program, in partnership with the Space Technology Development Corporation (STDC) of Arlington, Virginia. On December 12, 1997, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) signed an agreement with STDC for the development of NEMO. NRL is a strategic partner in this dual-use research and development program.

The NEMO program agreement is a unique partnership between government, principally NRL, and industry. The program leverages the best Navy-developed satellite, remote sensing and processing technologies from NRL's Naval Center for Space Technology (NCST) and Remote Sensing Division, with off-the-shelf components, technology and business acumen from industry, according to NRL's Mr. Tom Wilson, NEMO program manager. The resultant dual-use research and development program will satisfy both government and industry's needs for earth image data from space. The technology developed by NRL will transition to industry, while government and industry will share program cost.

The program will demonstrate and refine a new imaging technology from space, Hyperspectral Imaging (HSI), that will augment and enhance the traditional remote sensing techniques used today. These images will assist the Navy's future research efforts in defining and modeling the global littoral ocean. The NEMO images are invaluable to commercial enterprise for assessment of geology, agriculture and the natural environment. Image data products from this system will be processed in real-time by NRL's onboard parallel processor, a "super computer" in space, using NRL's patented ORASIS spectral recognition algorithm.

ONR's Naval Space Science and Technology Program Office will serve as the government's sponsoring organization. STDC is the commercial program manager and has received a Joint Dual Use Applications Program award from DARPA for the NEMO program . The other commercial partners with STDC include Space Systems/Loral, Palo Alto, CA; AlliedSignal Technical Services Corp., Columbia, MD; and Applied Coherent Technology Corp., Herndon, VA.

NRL is the program technical manager and is responsible for systems engineering. Final integration of the instrument payload with a commercial off-the-shelf GLOBALSTARTM (GSB 400) spacecraft bus will occur at NRL's NCST. Many of the Navy's personnel assigned to this program also participated in the highly successful CLEMENTINE program in 1994. The NCST has been responsible for more than 32 launches and 84 payloads in the past thirty years.

The Navy data will be processed, distributed and archived at NRL's National Center for Hyperspectral Research. STDC will offer its imagery and products to the commercial marketplace through EarthMap, Inc., a subsidiary.

"The partnering of NRL and industry in this research program is an important demonstration of dual-use research and development in practice, and is a clear example of leveraging military developed technology for commercial use," said CAPT Bruce Buckley, NRL's Commanding Officer.

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The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory provides the advanced scientific capabilities required to bolster our country's position of global naval leadership. The Laboratory, with a total complement of approximately 2,500 personnel, is located in southwest Washington, D.C., with other major sites at the Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Monterey, Calif. NRL has served the Navy and the nation for over 90 years and continues to advance research further than you can imagine. For more information, visit the NRL website or join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

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