Input Data Sources: Spaceborne Missions
Each of the spaceborne missions from which data can be input to PolSARpro is described below, with links to more detailed information on dedicated sites.
The Shuttle Imaging Radar C- and X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SIR-C/X-SAR) was a cooperative experiment between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the German Space Agency (DARA), and the Italian Space Agency (ASI). Flown aboard the NASA Space Shuttle twice in 1994, SIR-C was the first fully polarimetric spaceborne SAR. Acquisitions were made simultaneously at L- and C-band wavelengths and in both horizontal and vertical polarisations. The fully polarised data products also contain information about relative phase difference between the four polarisation combinations. The SIR-C/X-SAR mission extended the capability of an aircraft campaign by providing regional scale data on a rapid temporal scale.
Envisat ASAR (ESA)
The Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) aboard Envisat, the European Space Agency's polar-orbiting Earth observation satellite, consists of a coherent, active phased array SAR (i.e., distributed transmitter and receiver elements). Operating at C-band, it offered sophisticated capability in terms of coverage, range of incidence angles, polarisation, and modes of operation. The Alternating Polarisation mode provided high-resolution partially polarimetric products comprising two images of the same scene in a selectable polarisation combination (HH/VV or HH/HV or VV/VH).
ALOS PALSAR (JAXA)
The Phased Array type L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (PALSAR) is an active microwave sensor using L-band frequency, which was launched aboard JAXA's ALOS platform in January 2006. In its experimental polarimetric mode, it images a swath 20-65km wide in full (quad) polarisation, with a resolution of 24-89m. In fine resolution mode, it can acquire partially polarimetric data at a resolution of down to 14m. The development of PALSAR was a joint project between JAXA and the Japan Resources Observation System Organization (JAROS).
Launched in 2007, RADARSAT-2 is a follow-on of the Canadian RADARSAT-1 spaceborne mission offering new capabilities including multi-polarisation options (cross-pol, dual-pol or quad-pol), the ability to acquire images to the left and right of the satellite and improved geometric accuracy. The satellite will carry a C-band active phased array SAR which, operating in polarimetric mode, gives a ground resolution ranging from 9 to 25 metres and swath widths from 25 to 50 kilometres.
Download a sample dataset encompassing many of the RADARSAT-2 beam modes
TerraSAR-X is a German radar satellite launched on 15 June 2007. The mission is realised in a Public Private Partnership (PPP) between the German Ministry of Education and Science (BMBF), the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and Astrium GmbH. The satellite design is based on technology and knowledge achieved from the successful Synthetic Aperture Radar missions X-SAR/SIR-C and SRTM. Additionally TerraSAR-X supports the reception of interferometric radar data for the generation of digital elevation models.