American Society of Civil Engineers

Oceanographic Earth Observations by Space Shuttle Astronauts

by Michael E. Duncan, (Lockheed Engineering and Sciences Co, Houston, United States), Patricia A. Jaklitch, (Lockheed Engineering and Sciences Co, Houston, United States), and Larry S. Slotta, (Lockheed Engineering and Sciences Co, Houston, United States)

pp. 162-176

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Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: Coastal Zone ’91
Abstract: Thirty years of manned space flights have produced over 100,000 photographs of the Earth. Many of these photographs describe various coastal processes and oceanographic phenomena at a resolution which is comparable to Landsat Multispectral Scanner and Thematic Mapper data. Astronaut photographs may be used to observe several types of synoptic and transient oceanographic events which might otherwise be missed by traditional remote sensing techniques. Astronaut photographs also allow for a wide variety of look angles, and, since they are directed by an intelligent observer, reduce the amount of extraneous and insignificant data. This study describes the types of phenomena commonly observed by astronauts in low Earth orbit, and the workings of the Flight Science Support Office which directs and documents the photography brought back by Space Shuttle missions.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Remote sensing
Coastal processes
Internal waves
Aerial photography

Author Keywords:
Coastal Zones--Photography - Space Shuttles--Applications
Remote Oceanographic Event Monitoring - Space Shuttle Astronaut Photography - Space-Based Coastal Zone Photography - Space-Based Oceanographic Earth Monitoring