The ISERV camera, once on the space station, will be positioned to look through Destiny's Earth-facing window. ISERV will receive commands from Earth and acquire image data of specific areas on the Earth the next time the station passes over the region. (Photo : UsAID / NASA)
A camera, custom-made to observe the Earth, will be launched to the International Space Station this week.
Called ISERV, the first-of-its-kind Earth-observing-camera will function from space but operated from Earth to serve the purpose of acquiring images of specific areas to study disasters and environmental changes.
Like Us on Facebook
According to a recent NASA news release, ISERV is to be loaded onto the Japanese HTV-3 aerospace vehicle which is scheduled to launch on July 20 at 10:06 p.m. ET from Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan.
ISERVE stands for International Space Station SERVIR Environmental Research and Visualization System. SERVER is a partnership program between NASA and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) which provides satellite information to environmental decision makers in developing countries.
According to Nancy Searby, a program manager for SERVER, "ISERV came about because officials in developing countries are sometimes unable to acquire the images they need to address environmental threats and provide post-disaster assessments. The SERVIR team approached NASA's ISS and Earth Science Applied Sciences Program with the concept of acquiring the needed imagery from the ISS. The ISERV test bed payload is a result of that collaboration."
Specifically, the camera will obtain images of the planet's surface and beam them to scientists back on Earth. According to NASA, ISERV may provide important photographs to help with disaster aid and recovery. One example would be taking pictures from the International Space Station of the Japanese coastline following the tsunami on Mar. 13, 2011.
NASA informed that ISERV was made from a modified commercial telescope and operated through custom software.