BackForwardInstrument:  ASTER 

Instrument details
Acronym ASTER
Full name Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection radiometer
Purpose High-resolution land and vegetation observation
Short description 14-channel radiometer in three sub-systems, VIS/NIR (3 channels),  SWIR (6 channels), TIR (5 channels) [see detailed characteristics below]
Background New development
Scanning Technique VNIR and SWIR pushbroom; 4000 pixel/line (VNIR), 2000 pixel/line (SWIR); TIR whiskbroom  (670 pixel/line;  swath 60 km s.s.p.; cross-track pointing capability within a range of  ± 318 km (VNIR) or ± 116 km (SWIR and TIR); along-track stereoscopic viewing in one NIR channel (0.81 µm)
Resolution Changing with channels group (see table)
Coverage / Cycle By exploiting strategic pointing, any place within 16 days, or within 5 days limited to VNIR in daylight
Mass 421 kg Power 463 W Data Rate 89.2 Mbps

 

Providing Agency METI
Instrument Maturity Flown on an R&D satellite
Utilization Period: 2000-02-23 to ≥2018
Last update: 2017-03-27
Detailed characteristics

Central wavelength

Spectral interval

SNR or NEΔT @ specified input

Resolution s.s.p.

0.56 µm

0.52-0.60 µm

140 @ 70% albedo

15 m

0.66 µm

0.63-0.69 µm

140 @ 70% albedo

15 m

0.81 µm

0.76-0.86 µm

140 @ 70% albedo

15 m

1.65 µm

1.60-1.70 µm

140 @ 70% albedo

30 m

2.165 µm

2.145-2.185 µm

54 @ 70% albedo

30 m

2.205 µm

2.185-2.225 µm

54 @ 70% albedo

30 m

2.260 µm

2.235-2.285 µm

54 @ 70% albedo

30 m

2.330 µm

2.295-2.365 µm

70 @ 70% albedo

30 m

2.395 µm

2.360-2.430 µm

54 @ 70% albedo

30 m

8.30 µm

8.125-8.475 µm

0.3 K @ 300 K

90 m

8.65 µm

8.475-8.825 µm

0.3 K @ 300 K

90 m

9.10 µm

8.925-9.275 µm

0.3 K @ 300 K

90 m

10.60 µm

10.25-10.95 µm

0.3 K @ 300 K

90 m

11.30 µm

10.95-11.65 µm

0.3 K @ 300 K

90 m

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
  • Passive optical radiometer or spectrometer
  • High resolution optical imager
Mission objectives
Primary mission objectives
  • Biomass
  • Leaf Area Index (LAI)
  • Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI)
Secondary mission objectives
  • Fire fractional cover
  • Fraction of vegetated land
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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
Biomass4 - fairCloud sensitive.. Index only.. Infrequent coverage.. Daylight only.VIS, NIR and SWIR channels. Biomass inferred from NDVI and LAI
Fire fractional cover1 - primaryCloud sensitive.. Infrequent coverage.VIS and TIR channels
Fire radiative power4 - fairCloud sensitive.. Infrequent coverage.TIR window channel(s) around 11 micrometers
Fire temperature4 - fairCloud sensitive.. Infrequent coverage.TIR window channel(s) around 11 micrometers
Fraction of vegetated land2 - very highCloud sensitive.. Daylight only.VIS, NIR and SWIR channels
Glacier cover2 - very highCloud sensitive.. Long time for mapping.. Daylight only.VIS, NIR and SWIR channels, screening ice from clouds
Glacier topography4 - fairCloud sensitive.. Long time for mapping.. Daylight only.VIS channel(s) and steering capability both cross and along track for stereoscopy both in-orbit and between orbits
Ice sheet topography4 - fairCloud sensitive.. Long time for mapping.. Daylight only.VIS channel(s) and steering capability both cross and along track for stereoscopy both in-orbit and between orbits
Land cover3 - highCloud sensitive.. Daylight only.VIS, NIR and SWIR channels
Land surface temperature5 - marginalCloud sensitive.. Infrequent coverage.TIR split window channels around 11 micrometers for water vapour correction
Land surface topography4 - fairCloud sensitive.. Long time for mapping.. Daylight only.VIS channel(s) and steering capability both cross and along track for stereoscopy both in-orbit and between orbits
Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI)2 - very highCloud sensitive.. Infrequent coverage.VIS and NIR channels
Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR)5 - marginalCloud sensitive.. Infrequent coverage.VIS channels, range undersampled
Sea-ice cover2 - very highCloud sensitive.VIS, NIR (for contour enhancement), SWIR (for discrimination from clouds) and TIR channels
Short-wave cloud reflectance5 - marginalInfrequent coverage.VIS, NIR and SWIR channels. Unsuitable dynamic range (saturation)
Snow cover2 - very highCloud sensitive.. Infrequent coverage.. Daylight only.VIS, NIR and SWIR channels, enabling screening snow from clouds
Soil moisture at surface4 - fairCloud sensitive.. Index only.. Infrequent coverage.VIS, NIR, SWIR and TIR channels. Soil moisture inferred from differential brightness and thermal inertia
Soil type4 - fairCloud sensitive.. Daylight only.VIS, NIR and SWIR channels
Upward short-wave irradiance at TOA5 - marginalSpectral interpolation needed.. Information on BRDF needed.. Infrequent coverage.VIS, NIR and SWIR channels
Vegetation type3 - highCloud sensitive.. Daylight only.VIS, NIR and SWIR channels
Aerosol volcanic ash5 - marginalCloud sensitive.. Infrequent coverage.. Daylight only.VIS, NIR and SWIR channels
Aerosol volcanic ash (Total column)5 - marginalCloud sensitive.. Infrequent coverage.. Daylight only.VIS, NIR and SWIR channels
Integrated Water Vapour (IWV)2 - very highCloud sensitive.. Infrequent coverage.NIR and TIR channels around 940 nm, 6.3 micrometers and in the 11 micrometers split window
Sea surface temperature4 - fairCloud sensitive.. Infrequent coverage.TIR split window channels for water vapour correction
Leaf Area Index (LAI)2 - very highCloud sensitive.. Daylight only.. Infrequent coverage.VIS, NIR and SWIR channels
Cloud cover2 - very highInfrequent coverage.Channels in VIS, NIR, SWIR and the TIR window around 11 micrometers
Cloud top temperature2 - very highInfrequent coverage.TIR channels in the window around 11 micrometers and the water vapour band around 6.3 micrometers (for emissivity) to estimate cloud top height from its temperature
Cloud top height3 - highInfrequent coverage.TIR channels in the 11 micrometers window and the water vapour band around 6.3 micrometers (for emissivity) to estimate cloud top height from its temperature
Cloud type0 - Infrequent coverage.Channels in VIS, NIR, SWIR and the TIR window around 11 micrometers
Cloud optical depth3 - highLow-density cloud only.. Infrequent coverage.. Daylight only.VIS, NIR and SWIR channels