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RADARSAT-2 Mission Update and Applications Overview

Mr. Gordon Staples (1)

(1) RADARSAT International, 13800 Commerce Parkway, Richmond V6V 2J3, Canada


RADARSAT-2, planned for a 2004 launch, is an advanced SAR satellite. Key features of RADARSAT-2 are high resolution (3 m), polarimetric modes, enhanced ground system providing rapid satellite tasking and near-real time data processing, improved image location accuracy, and on-board solid state recorders. The focus of this presentation is on the RADARSAT-2 polarimetric capability. RADARSAT-2 offers three polarimetric modes: (1) selective polarization (dual pol) providing one co-pol channel (HH or VV) and the corresponding cross-pol channel (HV); (2) high resolution (3 m) single pol channel (HH or VV); and (3) a fully polarimetric mode (quad pol) providing both amplitude and phase. The fully polarimetric mode is significant since RADARSAT-2 is the first commercial satellite to offer this mode. In conjunction with the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing and MacDonald Dettwiler, RADARSAT International initiated application development projects to understand the potential and limitation of the RADARSAT-2 polarimetric modes. An overview of this development work is presented, including agriculture applications, ship detection, forestry, ocean features, DEM generation, and ice mapping. Results based on CV-580 airborne SAR data and SIR-C are used. Polarimetry, while intrinsically challenging from a scientific perspective, is daunting to the end user. The commercial focus of the RADARSAT-2 mission dictates the development of operational applications, and ultimately the extraction of information from the SAR data. This presentation concludes with an assessment of operational practicality of the RADARSAT-2 polarimetric modes.



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