ISS earth observation: ISERV images for enviro tasks + HDEV video now streaming

The ISS SERVIR Environmental Research and Visualization System (ISERV):

automatically takes images of Earth through a small telescope with an off-the-shelf digital camera mounted in the International Space Station’s Destiny module. When ISERV is running, it captures 3 images per second that cover approximately a 19 km x 11 km area each. The goal is to improve automatic image capturing and data transfer, but the images taken in the experiment could also help environmental scientists, disaster responders and other Earth-based users.

Burgess Howell is the principal investigator and payload developer for ISERV and in this video he describes the system and examples of images.:

See also the gallery of great images at ISERV: A New ‘Eye’ on Earth – a set on Flickr.

The overall SERVIR program

is a joint venture between NASA and USAID which provides satellite-based Earth observation data and science applications to help developing nations improve their environmental decision making.


The ISS HD Earth Viewing Experiment was mentioned here last Saturday but it was not active at the time. Today it has been showing beautiful streaming video of the earth:

Live streaming video by Ustream


Black Image = International Space Station (ISS) is on the night side of the Earth.
Gray Image = Switching between cameras, or communications with the ISS is not available.
No Audio = Normal. There is no audio on purpose. Add your own soundtrack.

For a display of the real time ISS location plus the HDEV imagery, visit here:

The High Definition Earth Viewing (HDEV) experiment aboard the ISS was activated April 30, 2014. It is mounted on the External Payload Facility of the European Space Agency’s Columbus module. This experiment includes several commercial HD video cameras aimed at the earth which are enclosed in a pressurized and temperature controlled housing. Video from these cameras is transmitted back to earth and also streamed live on this channel. While the experiment is operational, views will typically sequence though the different cameras.

Between camera switches, a gray and then black color slate will briefly appear. Since the ISS is in darkness during part of each orbit, the images will be dark at those times. During periods of loss of signal with the ground or when HDEV is not operating, a gray color slate or previously recorded video may be seen.

Analysis of this experiment will be conducted to assess the effects of the space environment on the equipment and video quality which may help decisions about cameras for future missions. High school students helped with the design of some of the HDEV components through the High Schools United with NASA to Create Hardware (HUNCH) program. Student teams will also help operate the experiment. To learn more about the HDDEV experiment, visit here: