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Interferometric Performance of a Cartwheel Constellation for TerraSAR-L

G Krieger(1) and T Amiot(2)

(1) DLR, Microwaves and Radar Institute, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany
(2) CNES, ., Toulouse, France


The option of adding a cartwheel constellation to the TerraSAR-L mission is being investigated. Different micro satellite constellations flying in close formation with TerraSAR-L are under consideration. Primary objective is the generation of a global DEM of HRTI level-3 quality. Ocean current monitoring is another important application facilitated by such a single-pass INSAR configuration.

The constellation will be an integral element of TerraSAR-L, i.e. special cartwheel modes exploiting the full capabilities of the main spacecraft will be used to improve the performance. Furthermore inter satellite links can be used to synchronise the data recording and provide TT&C communication and science data downlink via TerraSAR-L and hence simplify the micro satellite architecture.

This paper provides a comprehensive prediction of the achievable interferometric performance for a TerraSAR-L cartwheel constellation. Assuming receiving antennas of only 3m diameter ambiguity and noise floor levels are analysed in detail. Expected DEM accuracies for different effective baselines at different swath positions including effects of local slope and volume decorrelation over vegetation are presented


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