GE Intelligent Platforms (NYSE: GE) today announced that the company’s video processing technology had been deployed on board NASA’s Global Hawk as part of the agency’s Hurricane Severe Storm Sentinel (HS3) Mission. The Global Hawk aircraft is unique in its research capabilities because of its long range and flight duration, providing extraordinary capabilities for scientific and commercial ventures.
The rugged full motion video (FMV) compression appliance, the GE daq8580, provides visual situational awareness on the missions, which study hurricanes and wildfires. The missions are a joint partnership between NASA Dryden Flight Research Center (DFRC) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and see the autonomous Global Hawk deployed to conduct unprecedented atmospheric research initiatives.
The Global Hawk aircraft can reach altitudes above 60,000 feet and cover more than 20,000 km in extended 30 hour missions. It has been involved in several science campaigns each with specific information gathering objectives. The scope of these missions has varied from high altitude monitoring of ozone depleting molecules, to the study of large cyclones in the arctic influencing weather patterns.
“NASA selected GE’s daq8580 video compression technology to enable multiple video capabilities on Global Hawk missions,” said Don Sullivan, Biospheric Science Engineer, NASA. “It allows us to ingest high bandwidth, high resolution video streams from the onboard sensors and compress the data by factors as large as 100:1. The reduced bandwidth video feed can then be transmitted over the communication link to the ground station for observation and analysis with negligible impact on image quality. We expect to deploy several more units over the next two years.”The daq8580 compression platform minimizes system complexity as well as the size, weight and power (SWaP) requirements, all while increasing operational reliability. “This FMV compression appliance provided three key capabilities for the NASA missions,” said Rod Rice, General Manager, Military/Aerospace Products, GE Intelligent Platforms. “First was very high performance with very low latency, ensuring that optimum quality captured images were processed and transmitted in the shortest possible time, and with minimal bandwidth usage. The second was the daq8580’s open architecture, allowing it to be easily and cost-effectively integrated within Global Hawk’s other systems. Third was its support for CameraLink, an industry standard protocol which allows for the support of a broad range of high resolution cameras, giving NASA substantial flexibility.”