NISAR & Sentinel News
Unprecedented, detailed synthetic aperture radar (SAR) views of Earth from the NISAR satellite, to be launched in 2021, will be distributed by the ASF DAAC. NISAR data will help scientists better understand our planet's processes and changing climate, and aid resource and hazard management. One example came in May in the aftermath of Cyclone Roanu, which claimed over 100 lives in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and left tens of thousands in need of aid. Data from Sentinel-1A were used to generate flood maps.
“ASF is pleased to be playing such a key role in this important mission,” said ASF Director Nettie La Belle-Hamer. “We look forward to adding NISAR data to the data holdings and support we provide for the science community.”
Read more about NISAR
The mission is a partnership between NASA and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). The mission’s name is an acronym for NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar.
NASA selected the ASF DAAC to distribute NISAR data based on the facility’s 25-year record of supporting and understanding the synthetic aperture radar (SAR) user community; knowledge of numerous instruments, data collections, missions, and radar modes; and ability to handle various stages of data processing and distribution.
Said Craig Dobson, NISAR program scientist for NASA, “The ASF DAAC provides the synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data needs of a very diverse constituency of science and applications needs including geology, hydrology, ecology, and natural hazards. This breadth reflects the science and applications reach of the NISAR mission. The selection of ASF to be the NISAR DAAC demonstrates NASA's expectation that ASF can successfully meet the archive and distribution challenges of this exciting mission.”
Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) bounces a radar signal off the surface of Earth to detect physical properties including surface shape, surface roughness, and vegetation cover. Unlike optical sensor technology, such as Landsat, synthetic aperture radar (SAR) can see through darkness, clouds, and rain.
ASF Chief Scientist Franz Meyer, who has served on the mission’s Science Definition Team, is particularly enthusiastic about plans for NISAR to feature full, global interferometric SAR (InSAR) capabilities, which he calls “a game changer.” InSAR uses two or more radar images to measure changes on the Earth’s surface such as deformation from earthquakes or volcanoes.
NASA started studying concepts for a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) mission to determine Earth change in ecosystems, solid earth, and cryospheric sciences after the 2007 National Academy of Science “Decadal Survey” report “Earth Science and Applications from Space: National Imperatives for the Next Decade and Beyond.”
In the course of these studies, a partnership with ISRO developed that led to the joint NISAR mission, with L-band and S-band SAR systems on board.
In addition to the original NASA objectives, ISRO has identified a range of applications of particular relevance to India that the mission will address, including monitoring of agricultural biomass over India, snow and glacier studies in the Himalayas, Indian coastal and near-shore ocean studies, and disaster monitoring and assessment.
In a role related to that of the ASF DAAC's NISAR data distribution, the ASF Ground Station will support NISAR with downlink, uplink, and coherent tracking services. The full-service, satellite-tracking ground station is the only university-operated ground station in the Near Earth Network, an international array of ground stations. The network, managed by NASA, provides services to a range of customers.
Sentinel-1A & 1B Data Available
Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data from both of Sentinel-1's twin satellites are now added daily to the ASF archive, comprising a complete historical archive of Sentinel-1 SAR data processed by the European Space Agency (ESA).
With ongoing, all-weather, day-and-night, global Earth data, the Sentinel-1 mission facilitates monitoring and mapping of sea ice, oil-spills, land-surface motion, humanitarian crises, and more.
Read more about Sentinel-1
The Sentinels are a new fleet of European Space Agency (ESA) satellites, developed to deliver a wealth of data and imagery central to Europe’s Earth-observation Copernicus program. Sentinel-1's twin satellites each carry C-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR), together providing all-weather, day-and-night imagery of Earth’s surface. Sentinel-1A was launched on 3 April 2014 and Sentinel-1B on 25 April 2016. They orbit 180° apart, together imaging the entire Earth every six days.
Sentinel-1 is the result of close collaboration among ESA, the European Commission, industry, service providers, and data users. NASA's provision of the complete ESA Sentinel-1 SAR data archive through the ASF DAAC is by agreement between the U.S. State Department and the European Commission (EC). As part of the Copernicus program, the Sentinel mission will provide scientists with accurate, timely, and easily accessible information to help shape the future of our planet.
Click for more about Sentinel-1 data available through ASF.
Content on ASF's Sentinel web pages is adapted from ESA's Sentinel website.