This morning at 12:12 UTC, the clyde space ground station in glasgow, scotland was able to establish contact with seahawk.  as part of that contact, they downlinked the log file and commanded the onboard beacon to send out a signal – all with complete success. in analyzing the data, they reported that the separation/activation sequence that took place 45 minutes after seahawk was deployed from the lower free flyer performed perfectly with all antennas and both solar panels being deployed successfully.  the remaining two panels, one of which serves as the lens cover for the hawkeye instrument will remain closed until we believe that sufficient time has passed for the post-launch out-gassing to have completed and then they will be commanded to deploy.  in addition, the battery voltage is as expected and the logs show that the spacecraft has been “alive” for 15 hours.  

attached is a screenshot showing the location of the seahawk when this first contact was made as well as an actual recording of seahawk’s beacon that was captured by a radio amateur in the u.k. 

for those of you who may have missed the absolutely beautiful launch and spectacular landing, or if you would just like to relive the experience, you can watch a replay of yesterday’s events starting at about 4:50 into the video at:

while we were waiting and hoping for that first contact, i was reminded of the tension that the folks in nasa’s mission control center must have felt back in july of 1969 while waiting to hear if armstrong and aldrin had successfully landed on the moon.  

Neil Armstrong: Houston. Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed. 

CAPCOM: Roger Tranquility. We copy you on the ground. You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We’re breathing again. Thanks a lot.

while i am not saying that this morning’s event is anywhere close to the historical significance of landing on the moon, but for those us who were waiting for that signal, hearing it certainly allowed our hearts to beat and our lungs to breathe once again.

now on to the next step which involves a careful checkout of the spacecraft and activation of all the key systems that will be needed before we can start to do what seahawk was designed to do – to further our understanding of this incredible planet that we call home.

with my very best regards,


PACE mission observatory update

Greetings from the NASA Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem (PACE) Project at Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). Scheduled for launch in late 2022, PACE is a strategic climate continuity activity that will not only extend key heritage ocean color, cloud, and aerosol data records, but also promises to enable new insight into oceanographic, biological, and atmospheric responses to Earth’s changing climate. We’re writing today to update the community on the mission instruments, all of which recently successfully completed their Preliminary Design Reviews (PDRs).

PACE’s primary instrument is a tilting, global spectrometer being built at GSFC that spans the ultraviolet to near-infrared region at 5 nm resolution and also includes seven discrete shortwave infrared bands centered on 940, 1038, 1250, 1378, 1615, 2130, and 2260 nm.  This ocean color instrument (OCI) will provide 2-day global coverage with a local Equatorial crossing time of 13:00 and nadir footprint of 1-km.  PACE’s OCI passed its PDR in March 2018 and is now beginning engineering test unit development.  Additional details can be found here: .

The PACE payload will also include two small multi-angle polarimeters that measure intensities of polarized light at several viewing angles.  The first, the Spectro-Polarimeter for Planetary Exploration (SPEXone), will be contributed by the Netherlands Institute for Space Research (SRON). SPEXone will provide narrow swath (100 km), hyperspectral data at 2-nm resolution from 385 to 770 nm with 22 polarized bands at 5 view angles and a nadir footprint of ~2.5 km.  SPEXone passed its PDR in June 2018.  The second, the Hyper Angular Rainbow Polarimeter (HARP-2) will be contributed by the University of Maryland Baltimore County.  HARP-2 will provide wide swath (1550 km) polarized and unpolarized data at 440, 550, 670, and 870 nm at 20 to 60 view angles, with a nadir footprint of ~3 km.  HARP-2 passed its PDR earlier this month.  Additional details can be found here: .

Please join me in congratulating the three instrument teams for surpassing their PDR milestones.  We expect that this trio of complementary technologies will enable improved understanding of aquatic ecosystems and biogeochemistry, provide new information on phytoplankton community composition and improved detection of algal blooms, advance aerosol, hydrosol, and cloud characterizations, and provide opportunities for novel ocean color atmospheric correction.

If you’d like to learn more about the PACE mission and its payload, please visit: , follow @NASAOcean on Twitter, and @NASA.Ocean on Facebook.

Warm regards,

Jeremy, on behalf of the PACE Project

In-situ optical data of Southeast Asia Region for NASA SeaBASS

Invitation from NASA GSFC to voluntarily submit in-situ optical data of Southeast Asia Region

“Congratulations on the concise, informative portal for ocean color in Southeast Asia. I work in coastal and global ocean color algorithm development at NASA GSFC, and have found certain regions of the world – including Southeast Asia – somewhat underrepresented in terms of accessible in situ optical data. These data are critical to ocean color characterization and algorithm calibration and validation. For this reason, I hope you will consider encouraging principal investigators visiting your site to voluntarily (if not NASA funded) submit field data to ongoing collections such as NASA’s SeaWiFS Bio-optical Archive and Storage System (SeaBASS; Thanks, and good luck with the future of the portal.”

By Dirk Aurin, NASA

The Coastal Ocean from a Hyperspectral Perspective

Just wanted to let everyone know that there is a new feature on the Ocean Color Web homepage ( ) that Norman Kuring has just put together using some of the HICO data that in collaboration with our colleagues at the Naval Research Laboratory and Oregon State University, we are now making available to the broader ocean color community.  It is a wonderfully clear and creative depiction of the kind of information that is contained within the hyperspectral data from HICO.  You can access the feature directly at:

Modis Aqua Reprocessing

MODIS Ocean Color Data Users:

Within the next few days the OBPG plans to initiate a partial reprocessing of MODIS-Aqua ocean color products spanning approximately the last year of the mission (August 2012 to present).  As indicated in a previous message (sent 2 August 2013), this reprocessing is just an update to the instrument calibration to reduce some mirror-side striping artifacts.  The impact to the global mean time-series is small.  For details, see:

We expect the reprocessing to be completed within a few days of initiation. If you have any questions or wish to track the status of the reprocessing, please refer to the topic on the ocean color forum.