The EPA ASPECT aircraft recently helped ensure the safety of the crowds which gathered for the successful inauguration.
The Washington Times article “Mapping a picture of Earth’s minute particles from the sky” includes this info (click link for the complete article)
For hours each night, a pilot flew a 1968 Aero Commander dual propeller airplane, crisscrossing the skies around the Capital Beltway. But because of what it carried, the plane actually is the only one of its kind in the country.
Inside, there’s a collection, among other technology, of infrared and gamma-ray spectrometers, a neutron detector, scanners, cameras and broadband satellite equipment that remotely transmit chemical and radiological data back to the scientists on the ground.
EPA ASPECT – On the Scene
On the scene, in the air, when needed, where needed. The EPA ASPECT aircraft continues to provide on-scene commanders with the information they need to make critical decisions.
Algorithms, aircraft, and scientific analysis that allows state of the art detection at a higher sensitivity make the ASPECT program unique. Wheels up on call make the program available when needed. A solid, well developed and practiced concept of operations (CONOPS) makes ASPECT repeatable and reliable.
- 2.5 MPixel High Resolution Digital Camera
- Automated Geo-Rectification/GIS Coded Images
- Full Ortho-Rectification (Camera Model) Correction
- Ability to Process in the Air-Approx 3 Minute Turn-Around
- Compressed Transmission of Data Via SatCom
- Fast Turn Around on Images – Approx 700 processed images per Hour
Product can be imported into:
- Google Earth,
- Generic Geospatial software package
Aerial Image Mosaic, Balloon Fiesta 2010
IR Image taken during the same mission:
The ASPECT aircraft uses a high resolution digital camera to collect visible aerial images.
The camera consists of a Nikon D2X SLR camera body with a fixed focus (infinity) 24mm F1.2 Nikor lens. The camera sensor has 12.5 million pixels (12.2 Mpixels viewable) giving a pixel count of 4288 x 2848 in a 3:2 image ratio.
An effective ground coverage area of 885 x 590 meters is obtained when operated from the standard altitude of 850 meters.
Image ortho-rectification, which corrects for optical distortion and geometric distortion due to the three dimensional differences in the image, is accomplished using an inertial navigation unit (pitch, roll, and heading) coupled with a dedicated 5 Hz global positioning system (GPS). Aircraft altitude above ground is computed using the difference between the indicated GPS altitude and a 30 meter digital elevation model (DEM). Full ortho-rectification is computed using a camera model (lens and focal plane geometric model) and pixel specific elevation geometry derived from the digital elevation model to minimize edge and elevation distortion.
Documented geo-location accuracy is better than 49 meters.