2nd RPI Space Imaging Workshop

October 28-30, 2019
Embassy Suites Saratoga Springs,
86 Congress Street, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

Photo of asteroid Bennu

Asteroid Bennu. Image composed of 12 PolyCam images collected by the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. Credit: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona

IDEFIX/Ariane Rocket Body 42P

Poorly-resolved sequence of images of IDEFIX/Ariane Rocket Body 42P. Images from GT-SORT and provided courtesy of Dr. Marcus Holzinger.

Photo of Dione

Dione. Original image provided as .IMG file from : Porco, C.P., CASSINI ORBITER SATURN ISSNA/ISSWA 2 EDR VERSION 1.0, CO-S-ISSNA/ISSWA-2-EDR-V1.0, 2005.

Extended Abstracts Due: April 26, 2019
Author Notification: May 31, 2019
Revised Ext. Abstract (or Optional Manuscript) Due: October 21, 2019

Although images of space objects have been used for decades, there are many common challenges in the use of image data for planetary science, optical navigation, and space situational awareness. Many of these challenges may be addressed by recent advancements in imaging sensors, computer vision algorithms, and computing resources - all of which set the stage for a fundamental change in how we will exploit image data for future space missions. This workshop aims to facilitate the dissemination of ideas between all of the communities using space image data and to identify areas of common need. The unique workshop format will include oral presentations, poster sessions, and focused breakout sessions to discuss topics of interest.

Keynote Speakers

Andrew Johnson, Ph.D.
Dr. Andrew Johnson
Principal Robotics System Engineer, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Keynote Speaker
Presentation Title: 
Computer Vision for Planetary Descent and Landing

Dr. Andrew E. Johnson graduated with Highest Distinction from the University of Kansas in 1991 with a BS in Engineering Physics and a BS in Mathematics. In 1997, he received his Ph.D. in computer vision from the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. Currently, he is a Principal Robotics System Engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory where he is developing guidance navigation and control technologies for autonomous navigation and mapping during descent to planets moons, comets and asteroids. His current job is the Guidance Navigation and Control Subsystem Manager for Mars 2020 which includes a new vision-based terrain relative navigation system for landing and an enhanced rover navigation system for rapid autonomous driving over challenging terrain.

Carter Emmart, Ph.D.
Dr. Carter Emmart
Director of Astrovisualization, American Museum of Natural History
Keynote Speaker
Presentation Title: 
OpenSpace: a Tool for Immersive Interactive Data Context Visualization

Carter Emmart, Ph.D., is the Director of Astrovisualization at the American Museum of Natural History. He directs the award-winning space show productions at the Hayden Planetarium based in data visualization. Since 1998 he has overseen the development of the AMNH Digital Universe 3D Atlas. In 2002, he began a collaboration with Sweden’s Linkoping University hosting a series of masters thesis projects that lead to the NASA supported OpenSpace software. Carter’s career began as a space artist, with an academic background in astronomy and geophysics, and comes from a family tradition in the arts.


The schedule will be posted as it becomes available.

Technical Papers, Presentations, and Posters:

Extended abstracts are sought in all aspects of image analysis for space applications, and may be submitted to one of the following three categories: presentation (manuscript optional), poster (manuscript optional), student competition (manuscript required). Example topics of particular interest include:

  • Image processing techniques as applied to space imagery
  • Estimation of a body’s photometric properties from images
  • Stereophotogrammetry (SPG)
  • Stereophotoclinometry (SPC)
  • Lightcurve inversion
  • Optical navigation (OPNAV)
  • 3D modeling of space objects and planetary terrain
  • Image-based terrain relative navigation (TRN)
  • Image-based simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM)
  • Image-based virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) for space exploration
  • Visualization and rendering pipelines for space exploration
  • Imaging with non-traditional electro-optical (EO) sensors
  • Space imaging hardware

Extended abstracts are expected to be approximately 750-1,500 words and (approximately) follow the workshop template: MS Word Template (39KB docx) or LaTeX Template (31KB - in Github). These extended abstracts may not exceed two pages (plus, at the author’s discretion, an optional third page with supplemental images). Details on page and text formatting is provided within the template.

All extended abstracts must be submitted via the webform at the bottom of this page. If accepted, revised extended abstracts or full manuscripts are due by October 21, 2019. Full manuscripts are optional for all categories except the student paper competition. Extended abstracts (or, if submitted, full manuscripts) will be posted on the workshop website. If no revision is provided, the accepted extended abstract will be posted online. Workshop no-shows will have their abstract (or manuscript) removed from the website agenda and archive.

Please remember to allocate enough time for your extended abstract, manuscript, presentation, and/or poster to receive whatever organizational approvals are necessary for presentation in an open/public forum. These approval processes can often take many weeks.

Breakout Session Proposals:

In addition to the technical presentations and posters, the workshop will feature a series of breakout sessions where attendees can meet in small groups to discuss topics of interest to the community. We are accepting proposals for breakout session topics. Breakout session proposals should be no more than one (1) page in length.

Student Paper Competition:

Papers with students as the primary author are eligible for submission to the student paper competition. Students authors must attend the workshop and will present their work in a special poster session. Papers will be evaluated on technical merit and impact to the field, with the top papers receiving awards.

Abstract Submission Deadlines:

Extended Abstracts Due: April 26, 2019
Author Notification: May 31, 2019
Revised Ext. Abstract (or Optional Manuscript) Due: October 21, 2019


Submit Your Abstract: 

Short Course: Space Image Processing and Computer Vision with MATLAB

Taught by instructors from MathWorks, this hands-on MATLAB short course will cover practical applications of image processing and computer vision in space systems.  In this interactive session, you will use MATLAB to explore the following workflows:

  • Image pre-processing and data management
  • Object detection and recognition
  • Stereo vision
  • 3D vision and visual odometry


Registration will begin soon.

Travel & Lodging

Embassy Suites by Hilton Saratoga Springs

The workshop will be held at Embassy Suites by Hilton Saratoga Springs.


A block of rooms has been reserved at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Saratoga Springs at the government per diem rate ($117.00 USD/Night). This special room rate will be available until September 28, 2019 or until the group block is sold-out, whichever comes first. The direct link to make room reservations as part of this block is here. If you wish to make reservations over the phone, the group code is “RPI”.

Map of Venue


Saratoga Springs, NY, is located 30 minutes north of Albany, NY, on Interstate 87, with easy access to Albany International Airport (ALB) and the Albany-Rensselaer Amtrak station.

For attendees flying into Albany and who do not wish to rent a car, there are a variety of shuttle and taxi services that will take you to Saratoga Springs. Additionally, both Uber and Lyft operate out of the Albany airport.


Rensselaer Polytechnic Institue
American Astronautical Society

Planning Committee

Workshop General Chair:

Workshop Planning Committee:

  • Coralie Adam, KinetX
  • Shyam Bhaskaran, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Lylia Benhacine, C.S. Draper Laboratory
  • Daniella DellaGiustina, The University of Arizona
  • Christopher D’Souza, NASA Johnson Space Center
  • Carolin Frueh, Purdue University
  • Marcus Holzinger, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Andrew Horchler, Astrobotic Technology, Inc.
  • Andrew Liounis, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
  • Jay McMahon, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Ossi Saarela, Mathworks