BackForwardInstrument:  SAR-L 

Instrument details
Acronym SAR-L
Full name Synthetic Aperture Radar (L-band)
Purpose High-resolution all-weather multi-purpose imager for ocean, land (specifically soil moisture) and ice
Short description L-band SAR, frequency 1.275 GHz, multi-polarisation and variable pointing/resolution [see detailed characteristics below]
Background New development
Scanning Technique Side-looking, 15-50° off-nadir, swath 30 to 320 km, depending on operation mode - See table
Resolution 10 to 100 m, depending on operation mode - See table
Coverage / Cycle Global coverage in 16 days with one satellite, 8 days with the complex of SAOCOM-1A + SAOCOM-1B by using the ‘wide-swath’ mode; in longer periods for other operation modes
Mass 1500 kg Power Data Rate 300 Mbps

 

Providing Agency CONAE
Instrument Maturity Backed by strong heritage
Utilization Period: ≥2017 to ≥2025
Last update: 2012-09-12
Detailed characteristics
Operation mode Resolution Swath Field of regard Polarisations

High resolution A

10 m 60 km 320 km HH or VV

High resolution B

10 m 30 km 320 km VV/HH, HH/HV, VV/VH

Medium resolution

20 m 60 km 320 km HH or VV

ScanSAR wide swath

100 m 320 km 320 km HH or VV
Satellites this instrument is flying on

Note: a red tag indicates satellites no longer operational, a green tag indicates operational satellites, a blue tag indicates future satellites

Instrument classification
  • Earth observation instrument
  • Active and radio-occultation sensor
  • Imaging radar (SAR)
Mission objectives
Primary mission objectives
  • Biomass
  • Fraction of vegetated land
  • Land cover
  • Land surface topography
  • Oil spill cover
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Tentative Evaluation of Measurements

The following list indicates which measurements can typically be retrieved from this category of instrument. To see a full Gap Analysis by Variable, click on the respective variable.

Note: table can be sorted by clicking on the column headers
VariableRelevance for measuring this variableOperational limitationsExplanation
Biomass3 - highIndex only.. Infrequent coverage.L-band sensitive to total biomass
Dominant wave direction3 - highInfrequent coverage.L-band SAR. Variable measured by spectral analysis of "imagettes"
Dominant wave period3 - highInfrequent coverage.L-band SAR. Variable measured by spectral analysis of "imagettes"
Fire fractional cover3 - highInfrequent coverage.L-band SAR. High resolution, for fire boundary detection
Fraction of vegetated land3 - highNo specific limitation.L-band SAR
Glacier cover3 - highLong time for mapping.L-band SAR for accurate boundary detection
Glacier motion3 - highInfrequent coverage.L-band SAR for interferometry between images taken at time intervals
Glacier topography3 - highLong time for mapping.L-band SAR for interferometry between images taken at time intervals
Ice sheet topography3 - highLong time for mapping.L-band SAR for interferometry between images taken at time intervals
Land cover4 - fairNo specific limitation.L-band SAR
Land surface topography2 - very highLong time for mapping.L-band SAR for interferometry between images taken at time intervals
Oil spill cover3 - highInfrequent coverage.L-band SAR
Sea-ice cover1 - primaryNo specific limitation.L-band SAR
Sea-ice elevation4 - fairNo specific limitation.L-band SAR. Sea ice elevation measured by interferometry
Sea-ice thickness5 - marginalChange detection only.L-band SAR. Sea ice elevation measured by interferometry. Thickness inferred by ice model
Sea-ice type3 - highNo specific limitation.L-band SAR. Type interpreted as age/roughness
Significant wave height5 - marginalHighly indirect.. Infrequent coverage.L-band SAR. Retrieved by spectral analysis of "imagettes". Boundary condition necessary for the retrieval
Snow water equivalent4 - fairChange detection only.. Infrequent coverage.L-band SAR. SWE is retrieved by grigging with data from ground networks
Soil moisture (in the roots region)4 - fairInfrequent coverage.L-band SAR
Soil moisture at surface3 - highInfrequent coverage.L-band SAR
Soil type5 - marginalNo specific limitation.L-band SAR
Vegetation type5 - marginalNo specific limitation.L-band SAR
Wave directional energy frequency spectrum3 - highInfrequent coverage.L-band SAR. Variable measured by spectral analysis of "imagettes"