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Proceedings Paper

Shuttle radar topography mapper (SRTM)
Author(s): Rolando L. Jordan; Edward R. Caro; Yunjin Kim; Michael Kobrick; Yuhsyen Shen; Frederick V. Stuhr; Marian U. Werner
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Paper Abstract

The use of interferometric SAR (IFSAR) to measure elevation is one of the most powerful and promising capabilities of radar. A properly equipped spaceborne IFSAR system can produce a highly accurate global digital elevation map, including cloud-covered areas, in significantly less time and at significantly lower cost than with other systems. For accurate topography, the interferometric measurements must be performed simultaneously in physically sperate receive system, since measurements made at different times with the same system suffer significant decorrelation. The US/German/Italian spaceborne imaging radar C/X-band SAR (SIR-C/X-SAR), successfully flown twice in 1994 aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavor, offers a unique opportunity for global multifrequency elevation mapping by the year 2000. With appropriate augmentation, SIR-C/X-SAR is capable of producing an accurate elevation map covering 80 percent of the Earth's land surface in a single 10-day Shuttle flight. The existing US SIR-C SCANSAR mode provides a 225-km swath at C-band, which makes this coverage possible. Addition of a C-band receive antenna, extended from the Shuttle bay on a mast and operating in concert with the existing SIR-C antenna, produces an interferometric pair. Accuracy is enhanced by utilizing the SIR-C dual polarizations simultaneously to form separate SCANSAR beams. Due to the practical limitation of approximately 60 meters for the mast length, the longer SIR-C L-band wavelength does not produce useful elevation measurement accuracy. IFSAR measurements can also be obtained by the German/Italian X-SAR, simultaneously with SIR-C, by utilizing an added outboard antenna at X-band to produce a swath coverage of about 50 km. Accuracy can be enhanced at both frequencies by processing both ascending and descending data takes. It is estimated that the 90 percent linear absolute elevation error achievable is less that 16 meters for elevation postings of 30 meters. This will be the first use of spaceborne IFSAR to acquire accurate topographic data on a global scale.

Paper Details

Date Published: 17 December 1996
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 2958, Microwave Sensing and Synthetic Aperture Radar, (17 December 1996); doi: 10.1117/12.262717
Show Author Affiliations
Rolando L. Jordan, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Edward R. Caro, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Yunjin Kim, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Michael Kobrick, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Yuhsyen Shen, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Frederick V. Stuhr, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Marian U. Werner, DLR (Germany)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2958:
Microwave Sensing and Synthetic Aperture Radar
Giorgio Franceschetti; Christopher John Oliver; Franco S. Rubertone; Shahram Tajbakhsh, Editor(s)

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