Microsatellites: NEMO-HD

March 17, 2014

Next-generation Earth Monitoring and Observation – High Definition


NEMO-HD is a high performance multispectral Earth observation microsatellite (70 kg) developed in collaboration with the Slovenian Centre of Excellence for Space Sciences and Technologies (Space-SI). The NEMO-HD payload consists of two instruments.

The primary instrument is capable of imaging in four spectral bands at a pan-sharpened GSD of 2.8m, and covers a swath width of 10 km. The secondary instrument produces images at a GSD of 40m and a much wider field of view.

In addition to still imaging, both primary and secondary instruments capture high definition video at 25 frames per second. The video is H.264 encoded and downlinked in real time.

NEMO-HD integrated with GSE and RBF

Figure 1: Integrated NEMO-HD Satellite in SFL Clean Room. Photo: University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies


Figure 2: NEMO-HD Satellite Assembly


images of nemo separation

Figure 3: Image of NEMO-HD (left) separating from its Vega launch vehicle. Credit: Arianespace.


nemo hd separation

Figure 4: Image of NEMO-HD (left) in orbit a few seconds later. Credit: Arianespace.

NEMO-HD is designed to provide moderate-to high-resolution Earth imagery in a number of bands, as shown in Table 1. In addition, NEMO-HD carries two high-definition video channels, each providing real-time video at 25 frames per second, as shown in Table 2. The video channels are co-boresighted with the still imagery channels. This allows for a real-time imaging mode, in which an operator is viewing the real-time video feed; once a feature of interest is spotted, the spacecraft can be commanded to acquire still images of the target.

NEMO-HD represents a breakthrough in next-generation, compact microsatellite missions, and pushes the envelope of what can be accomplished by a small microsatellite in Earth observation.

Table 1: NEMO-HD still imagery observation bands

Channel name Bandwidth Ground sampling distance Swath width
HRS-PAN 400 – 900 nm (Pan) 2.8 m 10 km
HRS-MS1 420 – 520 nm (Blue) 5.6 m 10 km
HRS-MS2 535 – 607 nm (Green) 5.6 m 10 km
HRS-MS3 634 – 686 nm (Red) 5.6 m 10 km
HRS-MS4 750 – 960 nm (Near IR) 5.6 m 10 km

Table 2: NEMO-HD video channels

Channel name Ground sampling distance Swath width
High resolution 2.8 m 5 km
Low resolution 40 m 75 km


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