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European Radar Observatory Sentinel-1

Evert Attema(1), Malcolm Davidson(1), Nicolas Floury(1), Guido Levrini(1), Bjorn Rommen(1), Betlem Rosich(2) and Paul Snoeij(1)

(1) ESA, Keplerlaan 1, 2200 AG Noordwijk, Netherlands
(2) ESA, Via Galileo Galilei, 00044 Frascati, Italy

Abstract

In Europe the development of space technology is being coordinated by the European Space Agency under tight control of its Member States and their normal democratic procedures. For mature Earth observation applications other than meteorology a new European programme framework for operational satellites is emerging, based on the explicit requirements of services provided to the end-user. The Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) programme is a joint initiative of the European Union (EU) and the European Space Agency (ESA). As part of the GMES space component, ESA is undertaking the development of a European Radar Observatory (Sentinel-1), a European polar orbiting satellite system for the continuation of SAR operational applications. Sentinel-1 is an imaging radar mission at C-band aimed at providing continuity of data for user services. Special emphasis is placed on services identified in ESA’s GMES service elements (GSE) program. Additional inputs come from on-going GMES projects funded by ESA, EU (FP5 and FP6) and ESA/EU member states. Three priorities (fast-track services) for the mission have been identified by user consultation working groups of the European Union: Marine Core Services, Land Monitoring and Emergency Services. This paper describes the Sentinel-1 mission, an imaging synthetic aperture radar (SAR) mission at C-band. It provides an overview of the mission requirements, how they were derived and some insight into the preliminary technical concept for the satellite. Based on mission analysis work in preparation of the Sentinel-1 mission the presentation introduces the relation between the accuracy of a key user information product such as land surface movement measurement on the one hand and typical system requirements on engineering parameters such as spatial resolution, sensitivity, radiometric resolution, and calibration accuracy.

 

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