Hyperspectral Imager for the Coastal Ocean

SDL provided systems engineering support to the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) through the mission definition and preliminary design phases of the HICO program. SDL also developed and demonstrated the lab version of the HICO onboard computer system.

HICO is mounted to the ISS exterior and has been operational since 2009. HICO images enable the study of the ocean’s bathymetry, shallow sea floor, water visibility, and chlorophyll content. Improved understanding of these ocean characteristics is important for the Navy and Marine Corps, which may need to move ships quickly in shallow or murky waters. HICO data is also used to monitor water quality, and the EPA and other civilian researchers are using HICO data to study coastal ecosystems and the Great Lakes. Data from HICO was used to characterize the oil spill resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in April 2010.