BackForwardInstrument:  SAR-X 

Instrument details
Acronym SAR-X
Full name Synthetic Aperture Radar (X-band)
Purpose High-resolution all-weather multi-purpose imager for ocean, land and ice. TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X have coordinated orbits so as to enable computation of accurate Digital Elevation Model
Short description X-band SAR, frequency 9.65 GHz, multi-polarisation and variable swath/resolution [see detailed characteristics below]
Background New development
Scanning Technique Side-looking, swath 10 to 100 km, addressable within a field of regard of size depending on operation mode, on either sides - See table
Resolution 1 to 16 m, depending on operation mode - See table
Coverage / Cycle Determined by strategic pointing. Minimum revisit time for a selected location: 2.5 d
Mass 1230 kg Power 2400 W Data Rate 680 Mbps

 

Providing Agency DLR
Instrument Maturity Flown on operational programme
Utilization Period: 2008-01-07 to ≥2025
Last update: 2012-09-13
Detailed characteristics
Operation mode Resolution Swath Field of regard Polarisation

Spotlight

1 m 10 km 463 km, either right or left HH or VV or HV or VH

Stripmap

3 m 30 km 287 km, either left or right HH or VV or HV or VH

ScanSAR

16 m 100 km 287 km, either left or right HH or VV or HV or VH
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
  • Fraction of vegetated land
  • Glacier motion
  • Glacier topography
  • Land cover
  • Land surface topography
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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
Dominant wave direction3 - highInfrequent coverage.X-band SAR. Variable measured by spectral analysis of "imagettes"
Dominant wave period3 - highInfrequent coverage.X-band SAR. Variable measured by spectral analysis of "imagettes"
Fire fractional cover1 - primaryInfrequent coverage.X-band SAR. High resolution, for fire boundary detection
Fraction of vegetated land1 - primaryNo specific limitation.X-band SAR
Glacier cover1 - primaryLong time for mapping.X-band SAR for accurate boundary detection
Glacier motion3 - highInfrequent coverage.X-band SAR for interferometry between images taken at time intervals
Glacier topography3 - highLong time for mapping.X-band SAR for interferometry between images taken at time intervals
Ice sheet topography3 - highLong time for mapping.X-band SAR for interferometry between images taken at time intervals
Land cover2 - very highNo specific limitation.X-band SAR
Land surface topography2 - very highLong time for mapping.X-band SAR for interferometry between images taken at time intervals
Oil spill cover1 - primaryInfrequent coverage.X-band SAR
Sea-ice cover1 - primaryNo specific limitation.X-band SAR
Sea-ice elevation4 - fairNo specific limitation.X-band SAR. Sea ice elevation measured by interferometry
Sea-ice thickness5 - marginalChange detection only.X-band SAR. Sea ice elevation measured by interferometry. Thickness inferred by ice model
Sea-ice type3 - highNo specific limitation.X-band SAR. Type interpreted as age/roughness
Significant wave height5 - marginalHighly indirect.. Infrequent coverage.X-band SAR. Retrieved by spectral analysis of "imagettes". Boundary condition necessary for the retrieval
Snow cover3 - highThick snow only.. Infrequent coverage.X-band SAR
Snow status (wet/dry)3 - highThick snow only.. Infrequent coverage.X-band SAR
Snow water equivalent4 - fairChange detection only.. Infrequent coverage.X-band SAR. SWE is retrieved by grigging with data from ground networks
Soil moisture at surface5 - marginalStrongly affected by vegetation.. Infrequent coverage.X-band SAR
Soil type3 - highNo specific limitation.X-band SAR
Vegetation type3 - highNo specific limitation.X-band SAR
Wave directional energy frequency spectrum3 - highInfrequent coverage.X-band SAR. Variable measured by spectral analysis of "imagettes"