RADARSAT-1 Declared Dead after 17 Years of Service

Canada's RADARSAT-1 satellite had problems in late March and has been declared no longer operational earlier this month by the Canadian Space Agency. Continuity was planned with RADARSAT-2 which started providing imagery in early 2008 and RADARSAT-C slated for orbit in 2018.

From the press release: "During its 90,828 orbits around the earth it provided 625,848 images to more than 600 clients and partners in Canada and 60 countries worldwide. It assisted with information gathering during 244 disaster events and literally mapped the world, providing complete coverage of the World's continents, continental shelves and polar icecaps. Among its many accomplishments, RADARSAT-1 conducted Antarctic Mapping Missions (AMM) in 1999 and 2000 and delivered the first-ever, unprecedented high-resolution maps of the entire frozen continent. It also delivered the first stereo-radar coverage of the planet's landmass, the first high-resolution interferometric coverage of Canada, and produced complete single season snapshots of all the continents."

RADARSAT Constellation Project Confirmed, Operational in 2018

Via internal email, I learned that a few minutes ago the Government of Canada announced the final stage of the RADARSAT Constellation project.

From the press release: "The contract with MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates (MDA), announced today, will lead to the completion of construction; the launch of the three satellites, planned for 2018; and the first year of operation of the mission."

Technical details available here, "The RADARSAT Constellation is the evolution of the RADARSAT Program with the objective of ensuring data continuity, improved operational use of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and improved system reliability. The three-satellite configuration will provide complete coverage of Canada's land and oceans offering an average daily revisit, as well as daily access to 95% of the world to Canadian and International users."

Envisat Satellite Services Interrupted

Via the AGISRS mailing list I learned about today's announcement that Envisat is having problems and services are interrupted.

From the ESA announcement: " After 10 years of service, Envisat has stopped sending data to Earth. ESA’s mission control is working to re-establish contact with the satellite.
Although this landmark mission has been in orbit twice as long as it was designed for, ESA hopes to keep the satellite in service until the launch of the successor Sentinel missions.

UK Plans Space-Based Radar System 'NovaSAR-S'

Slashdot discusses a story named UK Plans Space Based Radar System.

Their summary: "The UK government is to kick-start an innovative project to fly radar satellites around the Earth, with an initial investment of £21m. NovaSar-S would have a number of viewing modes that could enable it to perform a wide range of roles, from flood monitoring and land cover management to disaster mapping and maritime enforcement — notably ship tracking and oil spill detection."

Those wanting to learn more will find the SSTL NovaSAR-S brochure and datasheet here. Some info: S-Band radar, maximum spatial resolution of 6 meters (stripmap mode), single, dual and triple polarization capabilities.

ESA's Open Source NEST SAR Toolbox 4B-1.0 Released

Via email I learned that a week ago ESA released a new version of their open source SAR toolbox named NEST, now at version 4B-1.0. This is their first major update this year. We mentioned NEST releases since 2008.

Supported product formats include: 

  • ENVISAT ASAR, ERS AMI 1 & 2 (CEOS & Envisat format from PGS and VMP), JERS SAR, ALOS PALSAR, TerraSarX, ADARSAT-2, Cosmo-Skymed, BEAM DIMAP, GeoTIFF, HDF, NetCDF, ENVI, PolsarPro, GETASSE30 DEM, ACE DEM, ASTER DEM and SRTM DEM

What's new for version 4B:

  • Interferometry
    • Improved interferogram and coherence estimation
    • Topographic phase removal
    • Filtering of spectras in range and azimuth
  • Command line interface improvements
  • Easier Coregistration from the command line
  • Band variables for batch processing of BandMaths
  • ReprojectionUI for graph processing
  • Automatic fetching of DORIS and PRARE orbit files
  • Automatic GETASSE30 download
  • New interpolators
  • HSV View
  • Uses JDK 7
  • Bug fixes
  • Significant performance improvements

RADARSAT-1 Mosaics Now Accessible to the General Public

The Canadian Space Agency announced that RADARSAT-1 mosaics are now accessible to the general public.

From the announcement: "For the last 15 years, RADARSAT-1 has observed the Earth from space. Over time, the satellite has generated an impressive collection of images, some of which were used to produce high-resolution mosaics of areas of interest. These were acquired in relatively short time spans and provide a snapshot in time that can be used for studying terrestrial geology, geomorphology, vegetation, coastal features, wetlands, urbanization and ice dynamics. In order to facilitate access to this Earth Observation data, mosaics of Canada, the United States, Africa, Australia and Antarctica are now available to the general public and can downloaded (without restriction) on the CSA web site."

TanDEM-X and TerraSAR-X DEM: New 3D mapping of the world

Two German radar satellites are now flying in tight formation as they prepare to make the most detailed ever 3D map of the Earth's entire surface.

From the BBC News article: "TanDEM-X and TerraSAR-X have moved to within 350m of each other as they sweep around the planet at 7km/s. [...] TerraSAR-X was launched in 2007. TanDEM-X was put in space in June, since when it has been brought closer and closer to its more established sibling. [...] The fully finished DEM of the Earth's surface should be available in 2014. [...] With the TanDEM mission, the intention is to go down to a spatial resolution of 12m by 12m with a relative vertical accuracy of less than two metres."

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