NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR), a novel SAR concept will be utilized to image wide swath at high resolution of stripmap SAR. It will have observations in L- and S-bands to understand highly spatial and temporally complex processes such as ecosystem disturbances, ice sheet changes, and natural hazards including earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, and landslides. NISAR with several advanced features such as 12 days interferometric orbit, achievement of high resolution and wide swath images through SweepSAR technology and simultaneous data acquisition in dual frequency would support a host of applications. The primary objectives of NISAR are to monitor ecosystems including monitoring changes in ecosystem structure and biomass estimation, carbon flux monitoring; mangroves and wetlands characterization; alpine forest characterization and delineation of tree-line ecotone, land surface deformation including measurement of deformation due to co-seismic and inter-seismic activities; landslides; land subsidence and volcanic deformation, cryosphere studies including measurements of dynamics of polar ice sheet, ice discharge to the ocean, Himalayan snow and glacier dynamics, deep and coastal ocean studies including retrieval of ocean parameters, mapping of coastal erosion and shore-line change; demarcation of high tide line (HTL) and low tide line (LTL) for coastal regulation zones (CRZ) mapping, geological studies including mapping of structural and lithological features; lineaments and paleo-channels; geo-morphological mapping, natural disaster response including mapping and monitoring of floods, forest fires, oil spills, earthquake damage and monitoring of extreme weather events such as cyclones. In addition to the above, NISAR would support various other applications such as enhanced crop monitoring, soil moisture estimation, urban area development, weather and hydrological forecasting.
The proposed spaceborne NASA-ISRO SAR (NISAR) mission would use the repeat-pass interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) technique to measure the changing shape of Earth’s surface at the centimeter scale in support of investigations in solid Earth and cryospheric sciences. Repeat-pass InSAR relies on multiple SAR observations acquired from nearly identical positions of the spacecraft as seen from the ground. Consequently, there are tight constraints on the repeatability of the orbit, and given the narrow field of view of the radar antenna beam, on the repeatability of the beam pointing. The quality and accuracy of the InSAR data depend on highly precise control of both orbital position and observatory pointing throughout the science observation life of the mission. This paper describes preliminary NISAR requirements and rationale for orbit repeatability and attitude control in order to meet science requirements. A preliminary error budget allocation and an implementation approach to meet these allocations are also discussed.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is currently implementing a reconfigurable polarimetric L-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR), specifically designed to acquire airborne repeat track interferometric (RTI) SAR data, also know as differential interferometric measurements. Differential interferometry can provide key displacement measurements, important for the scientific studies of Earthquakes and volcanoes1. Using precision real-time GPS and a sensor controlled flight management system, the system will be able to fly predefined paths with great precision. The radar will be designed to operate on a UAV (Unmanned Arial Vehicle) but will initially be demonstrated on a minimally piloted vehicle (MPV), such as the Proteus build by Scaled Composites. The application requires control of the flight path to within a 10 m tube to support repeat track and formation flying measurements. The design is fully polarimetric with an 80 MHz bandwidth (2 m range resolution) and 16 km range swath. The antenna is an electronically steered array to assure that the actual antenna pointing can be controlled independent of the wind direction and speed. The system will nominally operate at 45,000 ft. The program started out as a Instrument Incubator Project (IIP) funded by NASA Earth Science and Technology Office (ESTO).
Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) interferometry has become an important tool for measuring the surface deformation and mapping topography. The largest error source of the SAR interferometry measurements is differential atmospheric delay of water vapor. It reflects detailed distribution of water vapor in troposphere at data acquisition. We found phase difference associated with atmospheric waves and severe local atmospheric phenomena in interferograms. To distinguish phase difference associated with surface deformation from tropospheric effect, we need several SAR interferograms including the time period of the deformation. Averaging the interferograms is an effective way to reduce the tropospheric delay from horizontal inhomogeneity of the water vapor distribution. Apart form the tropospheric delay of the horizontal water vapor inhomogeneity, we often find the differential phase correlated to the topography (elevation) in interferograms, which might cause error in interpretation of surface deformation. This phase is due to the differential tropospheric delay caused by the topography and vertical change of water vapor between two images in different atmospheric condition. Theoretical calculation shows that the phase difference can be approximated by linear expression of the elevation. We applied a simple and effective correction method that the error is removed by subtracting the DEM multiplied a coefficient.
A highly accurate global topographic map of the Earth's surface has been an elusive goal for at least three decades that may soon be achieved with the newly acquired Shuttle Radar Topographic Mission (SRTM) data. SRTM collected data for 99.97% of the Earth's landmass between -57 degree(s) and 60 degree(s) latitude during a 11 day mission in February, 2000. A modified version of the SIR-C radar that previously flew on the shuttle in 1994 augmented with a radar mounted on a 62 m boom was used to collect radar interferometric data at C (5.6 cm wavelength) and X (3 cm wavelength) bands. The C- band radar was operated in the SCANSAR mode in order to extend the swath width to 225 km, the minimal amount required to achieve contiguous coverage at the equator. This paper presents an overview of the new algorithms and techniques used to process the SCANSAR data to digital elevation maps. First results of topographic maps generated from the SRTM data are used to illustrate the techniques described in this paper.
Conference Committee Involvement (1)
Earth Observing Missions and Sensors: Development, Implementation, and Characterization IV