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NASA AEROKATS

Airborne Earth Research Observation Kites And Tethered Systems

AEROKATS Banner

The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's Wallops Flight Facility is a major collaborative partner with the ICCARS Project. NASA engineer Geoff Bland, creator of the AEROKATS program, designs low altitude custom remote sensing platforms, called Aeropods, for agricultural and environmental research purposes. Geoff and NASA technician Ted Miles have worked closely with us to adapt their program to the needs of middle and high school teachers for STEM education. Their generosity and genuine desire to support STEM education has enabled middle and high school teachers and students experience remote sensing first hand.

Processed TwinCam Imagery
Processed AEROKATS TwinCam Imagery (Near-infrared, red, and green bands, composite, classified and vegetation index images)
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY NOTICE: Aeropods - aerodynamically stabilized tethered remote sensing platforms - are patented intellectual property of NASA and the Airborne Earth Research Observation Kites And Tethered Systems (AEROKATS) program, and are considered competition sensitive. They may not be copied, re-engineered or reproduced without prior authorization from NASA. The Aeropods used in this project were produced in accordance with NASA Space Act Agreement SAAM #9200.

Aeropods:

The MonoCam Aeropod is our basic training aeropod, featuring a single camera for capturing visible light imagery. Students use this unit to learn kite and aeropod handling and operational and safety protocols and procedures. The imagery can be used to learn basic image pre-processing techniques.

AEROKATS MonoCam Aeropod

The TwinCam Aeropod is used by students to capture four-band (R, G, B + NIR) imagery. The image data is processed with MultiSpec image processing software to create data products such as Land-use and Land-cover classified imagery, and NDVI, (Normalized Difference Vegetation Indices). (NDVI can be used to indicate primary photosynthetic productivity and total biomass.)

AEROKATS TwinCam Aeropod

The Air Column Profiler Aeropod is used by students to capture a variety of atmospheric parameters throughout the air column - up to 1000ft (over 300m).

AEROKATS Air Column Profiler

Aeropods are carried aloft via large delta kites, which the students and teachers learn to fly as part of this program.


AEROKATS TwinCam Image Processing Tutorials

Use MultiSpec and other free and open-source software prepare, process and classify TwinCam imagery. The procedures demonstrated here will also work with the PC versions of these programs.


Students learning AEROKATS flight protocols

AEROKATS TwinCam - Classified image overlay in Google Earth

Educational benefits of AEROKATS:

  • Students capture and process their own remotely sensed data.
  • Students gain firsthand understanding of how multi-spectral remotely sensed imagery can be used to create new information about their environment.
  • Students use a variety of field instruments to conduct in-situ investigations and learn how ground-truthing can be used to validate and interpret remotely sensed data.
  • Students use real operational and safety protocols and procedures, and develop important teamwork skills while conducting AEROKATS missions.
  • Students learn the basics of aerodynamics.
  • Students use math skills to calculate mission parameters such as lift potential, altitude, optical field of view, and more.
  • Students get outside! Students get engaged! Students get excited about learning!
  • Students get to fly REALLY BIG KITES!!!

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Andy Henry,
Sep 8, 2014, 12:44 PM
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Andy Henry,
May 15, 2012, 1:43 PM
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Andy Henry,
May 15, 2012, 1:36 PM
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Andy Henry,
Mar 12, 2015, 11:30 AM
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Andy Henry,
May 18, 2012, 9:57 AM
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Andy Henry,
May 15, 2012, 1:18 PM
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Andy Henry,
May 15, 2012, 1:17 PM
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Andy Henry,
May 15, 2012, 1:17 PM
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