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Feature Identification and Location Experiment (File)

NSSDCA ID: 1981-111A-03

Mission Name: STS 2/OSTA 1
Principal Investigator:Mr. R. T. Schappell


The objective of the Feature Identification and Location Experiment (FILE) was to test a technique for autonomously classifying earth's features into four categories: water, vegetation, bare land, and clouds/snow/ice. The FILE system consisted of a sunrise sensor, two TV cameras, a decision-making electronics unit, a buffer memory, a tape recorder, and a 70-mm Hasselblad camera. This equipment was mounted on the experiment pallet shelf. The sunrise sensor would activate the experiment when the sun was 60 deg from the Space Shuttle's zenith. The two TV cameras were equipped with optical filters for visual red (0.65 micrometer) and near infrared (0.85 micrometer) to determine the ground track. The FILE was a data management technique. Using the ratio between visual red reflectance and near-IR reflectance, it categorized scenes as vegetation, bare ground, water, or snow and clouds. And it would suppress further data acquisition in a certain category after it had acquired a given number of scenes. The FILE experiment operated successfully for several orbits. But only 5 s of classified data were recorded due to a tape recorder malfunction. More description can be found in "Feature Identification and Location Experiment," Science, v. 218, n. 4576, pp. 1031-1033, 1982. The data are available from investigators Eugene Sivertson, Jr. and Gale Wilson, NASA-LaRC.

Alternate Names

  • FILE


  • Earth Science: Land Surface Processes

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this experiment can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Dr. W. E. Sivertson, Jr.Other InvestigatorNASA Langley Research Center
Mr. John C. TietzOther InvestigatorMartin-Marietta Aerospace
Mr. R. Gale WilsonOther InvestigatorNASA Langley Research
Mr. R. T. SchappellPrincipal InvestigatorMartin-Marietta Aerospace
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