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Proceedings Paper

The Surface Water and Ocean Topography Mission: a mission concept to study the world's oceans and fresh water
Author(s): Parag Vaze; Vincent Albuys; Daniel Esteban-Fernandez; Thierry Lafon; Juliette Lambin; Alain Mallet; Ernesto Rodriguez
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Paper Abstract

The Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) is a planned satellite mission to study the world's oceans and terrestrial surface water bodies. The SWOT mission concept has been proposed jointly by the global Hydrology and Oceanography science communities to make the first global survey of the Earth's surface water, observe the fine details of the ocean's surface topography, and measure how water bodies change over time. SWOT was one of 15 missions listed in the 2007 National Research Council's Decadal Survey for Earth science as a mission that NASA should implement in the incoming decade. This mission concept builds upon the heritage of prior missions and technologies such as Topex/Poseidon, Jason-1/ 2, the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM), and the initial development of the Wide Swatch Ocean Altimeter intended for the Ocean Surface Topography Mission/Jason-2. The key measurement capability for SWOT is provided by a Ka-band synthetic aperture radar interferometer (KaRIn). With an orbit altitude of 970 km, the KaRIn instrument provides a high-resolution swath width of 120 km enabling global coverage (~90%) of the world's ocean's and fresh water bodies. The KaRIn measurement is being designed to provide a spatial resolution of 1 km for the oceans (after on-board processing), and 100 m for land water, both at centimetric accuracy. An additional instrument suite similar to the Jason series will complement KaRIn: a Ku-band nadir altimeter, a Microwave Radiometer and Precision Orbit Determination (POD) systems. To enable this challenging measurement performance, the SWOT mission concept is designed to overcome several challenges, such as very high raw data rate (320 Mbps), large on-board data volumes, high power demand, stringent pointing and stability requirements, and ground data processing systems, to produce meaningful science data products to our user community. The SWOT mission concept is being developed as a cooperative effort between NASA and CNES. This paper presents the initial end-to-end mission concept as well as the current plans to develop and implement this challenging mission in the future.

Paper Details

Date Published: 13 October 2010
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 7826, Sensors, Systems, and Next-Generation Satellites XIV, 782613 (13 October 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.868439
Show Author Affiliations
Parag Vaze, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Vincent Albuys, Ctr. National D'Etudes Spatiales (France)
Daniel Esteban-Fernandez, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Thierry Lafon, Ctr. National D'Etudes Spatiales (France)
Juliette Lambin, Ctr. National D'Etudes Spatiales (France)
Alain Mallet, Ctr. National D'Etudes Spatiales (France)
Ernesto Rodriguez, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7826:
Sensors, Systems, and Next-Generation Satellites XIV
Roland Meynart; Steven P. Neeck; Haruhisa Shimoda, Editor(s)

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