Dr. Shen-En Qian

Speech Title:
Hyperspectral Satellites and their Applications in Earth Observation

Senior Engineer (Optical Payloads), 
Canadian Space Agency, 
St-Hubert, Qc, Canada

E-mail: shen-en.qian@asc-csa.gc.ca

            Dr. Qian is a top level Canadian government scientist (RES-05) and a technical authority at the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) with distinctly superior cumulative accomplishments, which brought him internationally recognized as an expert in optical satellite payloads, space technologies for satellite missions and deep space exploration, remote sensing, satellite data/image processing and analysis, onboard satellite data compression, data handling and enhancement, international standards for spacecraft data and project management. He has 30 years of experience in these areas. He holds 19 granted patents in US, Canada, European and several pending patents. He is the sole author of three reference books on spacecraft payloads, satellite signal and image processing, and coauthor of four other books. He has published over 100 scientific papers and produced 100 unpublished proprietary technical reports, proposals and presentations. He is a fellow of Canadian Academy of Engineering (CAE), a fellow of International Society of Optics and Photonics Engineering (SPIE), and a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
            Dr. Qian with his colleagues initiated and is leading the Canadian hyperspectral mission (CHM) and water color (WaterSat) microsatellite mission. He is technical lead of the meteorological payload of Polar Communication and Weather (PCW) mission. He has acted as the Scientific or Technical Authority in over 50 Canadian government contracts (accountable for millions of dollars) awarded to Canadian industry and academia in the development of space technologies for Earth observation, Lunar and Mars missions.
            Dr.  Qian's  researches  provided  solutions  to  technical  challenges  in  Canadian  space  missions.Building satellites with considerably high performance is a challenge, as this could be prohibitively expensive or constrained by available technologies. Dr. Qian is a pioneer in the inquiry of signal processing theories and technologies to enhance satellite performance. He has demonstrated that it is feasible and cost-effective to enhance satellite performance [e.g. signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), spatial resolution, etc.] using signal processing approaches. Dr. Qian was the first who introduced the wavelet shrinkage theory to “denoise” satellite data without degrading the signal thus to enhance satellite performance. He developed new theories that have been effectively applied to increasing satellites' SNR by up to five times using the more cost-effective signal processing means. Furthermore, he discovered that systematic spatial mis-registration (called keystone) between the spectrum images acquired by hyperspectral satellites carries spatial shift information. Based on this discovery, he invented new methodologies that have successfully doubled the spatial resolution of satellite sensors without the need for any additional images as would be required in image fusion.
            Modern satellites produce enormous amount of data that cause the problem of onboard data storage and data downlink to ground. Dr. Qian introduced vector quantization technology to compress satellite data onboard to solve the problem. He evolutionally evolved vector quantization technology and brought it to practical use. He invented new methodologies by replacing the lengthy codebook training process with a multi-stage approximation or with a hierarchical cluster self-organizing. His inventions lead to reduction of complexity for over 3 orders of magnitude and full control of the compression error. Like no others in the world, his inventions offer “quasi-noise-free” compression. This solved the crucial issue of possible information loss of onboard satellite data compression, as any information loss caused by compression is invertible on ground. His inventions on compression have been built into satellite sub-systems by Canadian industry and integrated into commercial remote sensing software tool used world-widely.
            Dr. Qian, represented Canadian government, has been making international standards for spacecraft data systems in the last 15 years with the ISO committee panelists from NASA and other space agencies, and has developed three international standards for spacecraft data compression that have been used by over 50 space missions.


  • Post Doctorial Visiting Fellow, Dec. 1994 to Dec. 1996, Canadian Space Agency, St-Hubert, Quebec,  
  • Post Doctoral Fellow, 1992, Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Paris, France.
  • Ph.D. Eng., 1990, Telecommunication and Electronic Systems, Jilin University, China.
  • M.Sc., 1985, Optoelectronics, Chinese Academy of Science, Beijing, China.
  • B.Eng., 1982, Electrical Engineering, Anhui Polytechnic University, China.

  • Present Positions

  • Senior Scientist, Canadian Space Agency, Saint-Hubert, Quebec, Canada.

  • Honors And Awards 

  • Fellow, Canadian Academy of Engineering (CAE).
  • Fellow, International Society of Optics & Photonics Engineering (SPIE).
  • Foreign Panellist and Lead Reviewer, US National Science Foundation (in the area of Geoscience and      
        Remote Sensing).
  • Associate Editor, Journal of Applied Remote Sensing.
  • Canadian government delegate in the European Cooperation for Space Standardizations (ECSS). Voting
        member on behalf of Canada of the Steering Board (SB) and the Technical Authority (TA) in the ECSS.
  • Adjunct Professor, York University, Canada. 
  • Member of the IEEE Advancement Committee for promoting Senior Members world-wide.
  • Editor of a must-have book “Optical Payloads for Space Missions,” John Wiley & Sons, Oxford,
        England (42 chapters, 1000 pages contributed by near 200 rocket scientists at space agencies, PIs at
        leading universities and space companies)
  • Recipient of Oversea Visiting Scholarship of China, 1991.
  • Sole author of two reference books “Optical Satellite Signal Processing and Enhancement” and    
      “Optical Satellite Data Compression and Implementation”, published by SPIE Press in USA in 2013.
  • Director Award of Canadian Government in 1999, 2002, 2010 and 2012.
  • 1st prize of Canadian Government Invention Award, 2004.
  • Visiting Fellowship at Canadian Government Laboratory awarded by Natural Sciences and Engineering
        Research Council of Canada (NSERC), 1994.
  • Recipient of French Scholarship for Foreign Visiting Scientists, 1993
  • Marie Curie Award, an award for outstanding scientists in the world after competition and selected by
        the Committee of Science and Technology of the European Community, 1992.