RADARSAT-2 Improvements to Enhance Earth Observation Applications and Utilizations

RADARSAT-2’s revolutionary design enables the satellite flexibility to be up-dated, reconfigured and additional beam modes added to accommodate the world’s ever changing needs. Since its launch in 2007, the following up-dates have been made:

1, The Licence for RADARSAT-2 restrictions on beam mode resolution were relaxed, with the beam modes now matching the full resolution of the current RADARSAT-2 beam modes. What this entails is that certain users can now receive finer resolution products for the Spotlight, Ultra-Fine and Quad-Pol beam modes Additional Ultra-Fine beam options covering incidence angles from 20 to 30 degrees are now part of the RADARSAT-2 offerings, which permit the use of the fine beam mode for a greater range of applications including oil seep and oil spill detection, as well as greater revisit options improving fine beam mode monitoring capabilities.

2, A single-look complex product from the Multi-look Fine beam mode is now available, providing approximately 5 metre resolution across a 50 kilometre swath. This presents a unique combination of wide area coverage and high resolution for improved mapping, target and change detection capabilities. Changes were made to the beam modes, pulses and timing parameters on the satellite, as well as to the processing of the imagery on the ground, which removes low level artefacts and ambiguities from the imagery to improve image quality and usability of the imagery.

These improvements are particularly evident in the Spotlight, Ultra-Fine and Quad-Pol images. RADARSAT-2 continues to maintain its position as the world’s most advanced commercial C-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite with more exciting upgrades and changes to come in 2010.

Source: Earth Observation Express No.41