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Achieving the EVINSAR Objectives with TerraSAR-L

Geoff Wadge(1) and Barry Parsons(2)

(1) University of Reading, Harry Pitt Building, 3 Earley Gate, Reading, RG6 6AL, United Kingdom
(2) University of Oxford, Parks Rd, Oxford OX1 3PR, United Kingdom


An L-band InSAR mission, EVINSAR, was proposed to ESA's Earth Explorer Opportunity Mission programme in 2002 that would measure the surface deformation associated with earthquakes/tectonism and volcanoes. Although not funded, the concept was encouraged by ESA and the EVINSAR science team was asked to study how the science requirements of EVINSAR could be met by the proposed TerraSAR-L mission.

The EVINSAR concept emphasises the collection of a frequent series of repeat-pass images of the world's areas of active tectonism and volcanism from an inclined orbital plane and a narrow orbital tube. Left- and right-viewing would alternate with each cycle. These characteristics would obviate baseline decorrelation, minimize topographic noise and maximise the ability to recover the 3D motion vector. The L-band radar is needed to reduce temporal decorrelation over vegetation.

TerraSAR-L goes a considerable way to meeting these requirements. Our target strain rate signal accuracy was set at 1mm/10km/year. Under ideal conditions TerraSAR-L could approach that capability. TerraSAR-L, however, has a polar-orbit and can only sustain limited left-sided viewing. Hence the ability to retrieve the 3D motion vector from multiple views is reduced.


Full paper

Keywords: ESA European Space Agency - Agence spatiale europeenne, observation de la terre, earth observation, satellite remote sensing, teledetection, geophysique, altimetrie, radar, chimique atmospherique, geophysics, altimetry, radar, atmospheric chemistry