Image Processing Unit opened to press at Tsukuba Space Center||
of the Image Processing Unit (IPU) for "Kibo" Multiuser Experiment Facilities
was completed, and the IPU was opened to the press at Tsukuba Space Center on
September 4, 2001.
by Touch Panel
Displaying One Image
Displaying Four Images
Data Compression Status Display
The IPU is an experiment support system that has six
VCRs. It is capable of compressing a maximum of five channel images simultaneously
and down-linking them to the ground.
The IPU enables operators to monitor experiment images
on the ground in near-realtime by downlinking MPEG2 compressed images sent from
experiments inside Kibo. It has VCR capability to store images when a data link
to the ground is not available, which facilitates flexible image transmission
The IPU is an experiment support system with six
VCRs. It is able to down-link a maximum of five channels of MPEG2 compressed image
data simultaneously to the ground. The IPU is composed of VCRs, a hard disk drive
that records data, a display with touch-panel functions for ISS crew to operate,
and controllers that control experiments and images.
The IPU will be
installed in a "Ryutai Rack," one of Kibo's material experiment racks
(International Standard Payload Rack: ISPR.) The Fluid Physics Experiment Facility
and Solution/Protein Crystal Growth Facility will also be installed in the Ryutai
There are two ways to transfer data from the IPU on Kibo to the
ground. One is via Japan's Data Relay and Tracking Satellite that down-links data
to Tsukuba Space Center. The other is to bring back image recorded video tapes
by Space Shuttle.
Only Japan is developing IPU-type equipment that controls
images in an integrated manner, such as recording multiple images and down-linking
them simultaneously, to conduct experiments on the International Space Station.
Other countries adopt methods in which each experiment or experiment rack records
its image data by itself, and in most cases only one image can be monitored on
the ground. In the fluid physics experiment, for example, researchers need to
change parameters from the ground while observing three-dimensional movement of
liquid. This can only be done by simultaneously down-linking multiple image processor
If timers are used, the IPU's six VCRs enable recording consecutive
experiment images when a data link is not available. It is estimated that a data
link will not be available approximately half of a day.
The IPU will be installed in a Ryutai Rack and will
be subjected to tests such as a joint test with the Kibo Pressurized Module (PM),
a Ryutai Rack system test, an and end-to-end data communication test with ground
operation control system; it will then be transported to Kennedy Space Center
(KSC). After checkout at KSC, the IPU will be installed in Kibo PM and will be
launched in 2006. Tapes to record images will be launched later by other flight.
Its actual operation will start after 2006.