Space-borne autonomous on-board recognition of high temperature events

D. Oertel1, B. Zhukov2, H. Jahn3, K. Briess3, E. Lorenz3
DLR-Institute of Optoelectronics, Postfach 1116, 82230 Wessling, Germany.Tel.: +49-815328-2841, Fax: +49-815328-1349,
E-mail: dieter.oertel@dlr.de
[2on leave from Space Research Institute, Moscow]
3DLR-Institute of Space Sensor Technology, Rudower Chaussee 5, 12484 Berlin, Germany.
Tel. : +49-30-67055 510, Fax: +49-30-67055 512,
E-mail: herbert.jahn@dlr.de

High temperature events (HTE) cause very often environmental disasters. Such HTE are forest and savannah fires, fires of open coal mines, volcanic activities and others. Current and planned operational space-borne Earth observation systems provide spatially, radiometrically or temporally crude data for the detection and the monitoring of high temperature phenomena on the Earth surface. Most of the known HTE detection algorithms have been developed for the utilisation of the data of the meteorological NOAA satellite-sensor Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR). Unfortunately, the AVHRR and other operational multispectral satellite scanners, such as the Along Track Scanning Radiometer (ATSR) on the ESA satellite ERS-1/2, show a limited performance for HTE detection because their mid infrared (MIR) channels saturate at radiance temperatures higher than 320 K.

DLR has developed and tested a new approach to the design of autonomously HTE detecting starting with the Fire Recognition Satellite System (FIRES) Pre-Phase A Study and continuing this effort by airborne experiments within the Bi-spectral Infrared Detection (BIRD) project.

Based on this experimental work and supported by co-investigators from Italy, Greece, France, Spain, Russia and Germany DLR proposed in 1997 to use the International Space Station (ISS) in its early utilisation phase as a platform and test-bed for an Intelligent Infrared Sensor prototype FOCUS. The autonomous on-board hot spot detection and analysis to be tested within the FOCUS experiment is an advanced technology design element of future Fire Recognition Satellite Systems, such as a considered Forest Fire Earth Watch ESA-Mission. FOCUS is considered by ESA as an important mission combining a number of proven technologies and observation techniques to provide the scientific and operational user community with key data for the classification and monitoring of forest fires.