||CUMULOS is a three-camera system flying as a secondary payload on the Integrated Solar Array and Reflectarray Antenna (ISARA) mission with the goals of researching the use of uncooled commercial infrared cameras for Earth
remote sensing and demonstrating unique nighttime remote sensing capabilities. Three separate cameras comprise the CUMULOS payload: 1) a visible (VIS) Si CMOS camera, 2) a shortwave infrared (SWIR) InGaAs camera, and 3) a longwave infrared (LWIR) vanadium oxide microbolometer. This paper reviews on-orbit operations during the past year, in-space calibration observations and techniques, and Earth remote sensing highlights from the first year of space
operations. CUMULOS operations commenced on 8 June 2018 following the successful completion of the primary ISARA mission. Some of the unique contributions from the CUMULOS payloads include: 1) demonstrating the use of bright stars for on-orbit radiometric calibration of CubeSat payloads, 2) acquisition of science-quality nighttime lights data at 130-m resolution, and 3) operating the first simple Earth observing infrared payloads successfully flown on a CubeSat. Sample remote sensing results include images of: cities at night, ship lights (including fishing vessels), oil industry gas flares, serious wildfires, volcanic activity, and daytime and nighttime clouds. The CUMULOS VIS camera has measured calibrated nightlights imagery of major cities such as Los Angeles, Singapore, Shanghai, Tokyo, Kuwait City, Abu Dhabi, Jeddah, Istanbul, and London at more than 5x the resolution of VIIRS. The utility of these data for measuring light pollution, and mapping urban growth and infrastructure development at higher resolution than
VIIRS is being studied, with an emphasis placed on Los Angeles. The “Carr”, “Camp” and “Woolsey” fires from the 2018 California fire season were imaged with all three cameras and results highlight the excellent wildfire imaging
performance that can be achieved by small sensors. The SWIR camera has exhibited extreme sensitivity to flare and fire hotspots, and was even capable of detecting airglow-illuminated nighttime cloud structures by taking advantage of the strong OH emissions within its 0.9-1.7 micron bandpass. The LWIR microbolometer has proven successful at providing cloud context imagery for our nightlights mapping experiments, can detect very large fires and the brightest flare hotspots, and can also image terrain temperature variation and urban heat islands at 300-m resolution. CUMULOS capabilities show the potential of CubeSats and small sensors to perform several VIIRS-like nighttime mission areas in which wide area coverage can be traded for greater resolution over a smaller field of view. The sensor
has been used in collaboration with VIIRS researchers to explore these mission areas and side-by-side results will be presented illustrating the capabilities as well as the limitations of small aperture LEO CubeSat systems.