ECOSTRESS Installation and First Data

  • Released Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Launched June 29, 2018, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, NASA's ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) instrument will measure the temperature of plants from space, enabling researchers to determine how much water plants use and to study how droughts affect plant health.

ECOSTRESS rode to orbit in the "trunk" of SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft, which berthed at the station on July 2. On July 5, ground controllers at NASA's Johnson Space Center extracted ECOSTRESS from the trunk, robotically transferred it to the International Space Station’s Japanese Experiment Module - Exposed Facility (JEM-EF) and installed it. The ECOSTRESS payload fits within an enclosure measuring 6.1 x 2.6 x 2.9 ft (1.85 x 0.8 x 0.88 m).

In the “first data” image, taken on July 9, yellow and red indicate generally higher surface temperatures. The Nile River is visible as a thin blue line on the main image. The black-and-white inset shows the level of detail available from ECOSTRESS, with the relatively cool Nile River and surrounding vegetation appearing darker.

From the space station’s altitude of ~250 mi (400 km), ECOSTRESS will provide Earth surface temperature data with a spatial resolution of 226 ft (69 m) cross-track and 125 ft (38 m) in-track with a temperature sensitivity of a few tenths of a degree. The station orbits Earth about 16 times a day; and it flies over the same location on Earth approximately every few days at varying times. This orbit provides sufficient coverage for ECOSTRESS to produce data encompassing the complete daily cycle of plant water use.

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Release date

This page was originally published on Tuesday, July 31, 2018.
This page was last updated on Wednesday, November 15, 2023 at 12:40 AM EST.

Datasets used in this visualization

  • ECOSTRESS (ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station) [ISS: PHyTIR]

    ID: 1011
    Type: Observed DataSensor: PHyTIR

    The ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) has been implemented by placing the existing space-ready Prototype HyspIRI Thermal Infrared Radiometer (PHyTIR) on the International Space Station (ISS).

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