The Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) have initiated the Hyperspectral Remote Sensing Technology (HRST) program to demonstrate the utility of a hyperspectral earth-imaging system to support Naval needs for characterization of the littoral regions of the world. One key component of the HRST program is the development of the Naval EarthMap Observer (NEMO) satellite system to provide a large hyperspectral data base. NEMO will carry the Coastal Ocean Imaging Spectrometer (COIS) which will provide images of littoral regions with 210 spectral channels over a bandpass of 0.4 to 2.5 micrometer. Since ocean environments have reflectances typically less than 5%, this system requires a very high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). COIS will sample over a 30 km swath width with a 60 m Ground Sample Distance (GSD) with the ability to go to a 30 m GSD by utilizing the systems attitude control system to 'nod' (i.e., use ground motion compensation to slow down the ground track of the field of view). Also included in the payload is a co-registered 5 m Panchromatic Imager (PIC) to provide simultaneous high spatial resolution imagery. A sun-synchronous, 97.81 degree inclination, circular orbit of 605 km allows continuous repeat coverage of the whole earth. One unique aspect of NEMO is an on-board processing system, a feature extraction and data compression software package developed by NRL called the Optical Real-Time Spectral Identification System (ORASIS). ORASIS employs a parallel, adaptive hyperspectral method for real time scene characterization, data reduction, background suppression, and target recognition. The use of ORASIS is essential for management of the massive amounts of data expected from the NEMO HSI system, and for developing Naval products under HRST. The combined HSI and panchromatic images will provide critical phenomenology to aid in the operation of Naval systems in the littoral environment. The imagery can also satisfy a number of commercial and science community requirements for moderate spatial and high spectral resolution remote sensing data over land and water. Specific areas of interest for the Navy include bathymetry, water clarity, bottom type, atmospheric visibility, bioluminescence potential, beach characterization, underwater hazards, total column atmospheric water vapor, and detection and mapping of subvisible cirrus. These data support requirements for Joint Strike and Joint Littoral warfare, particularly for environmental characterization of the littoral ocean. Demonstrations of direct downlinking of near real-time data to the warfighter are also being formulated. The NEMO satellite is planned to launch in 2000 followed by an operational period of 3 to 5 years.