Hyperspectral imaging systems onboard aircraft or spacecraft can acquire large amounts of data, putting a strain on limited downlink and storage resources. Onboard data compression can mitigate this problem but may require a system capable of a high throughput. In order to achieve a high throughput with a software compressor, a graphics processing unit (GPU) implementation of a compressor was developed targeting the current state-of-the-art GPUs from NVIDIA®.

The implementation is based on the fast lossless (FL) compression algorithm reported in “Fast Lossless Compression of Multispectral-Image Data” (NPO-42517), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 30, No. 8 (August 2006), page 26, which operates on hyperspectral data and achieves excellent compression performance while having low complexity. The FL compressor uses an adaptive filtering method and achieves state-of-the-art performance in both compression effectiveness and low complexity. The new Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS) Standard for Lossless Multispectral & Hyperspectral image compression (CCSDS 123) is based on the FL compressor. The software makes use of the highly-parallel processing capability of GPUs to achieve a throughput at least six times higher than that of a software implementation running on a singlecore CPU. This implementation provides a practical real-time solution for compression of data from airborne hyperspectral instruments.

This work was done by Nazeeh I. Aranki, Didier Keymeulen, Aaron B. Kiely, and Matthew A. Klimesh of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The software used in this innovation is available for commercial licensing. Please contact Dan Broderick at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. NPO-48571

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the January, 2014 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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