KuX-SAR - Preparing for New High Frequency SAR Missions

The project prepares for the operational and scientific utilization of new high frequency imaging radar (SAR) missions: the X-band SAR missions TerraSAR-X and COSMO-SkyMed, both launched in June 2007, and the TanDEM-X mission (scheduled for launch in 2009).

Short Description

The project partners are involved in international activities for the new satellites as members of Science Teams and as leaders of AO projects. In addition, the project supports the scientific preparation for the dual frequency (Ku- and X-band SAR) mission CoRe-H 2 O, COld REgions Hydrology High- resolution Observatory.

CoRe-H2O was proposed to ESA by an international team under the lead of H. Rott in response to the 2005 Call for Ideas for ESA Earth Explorer Core missions and was selected for Pre-Phase-A study.

The thematic focus of the project is on two important applications of high resolution SAR: 

  • Snow and ice observations for water management and climate research
  • The retrieval of forest parameters

The work at ENVEO deals with development of methods for retrieval of snow and glacier parameters from the new SAR data. To support and test these developments, ENVEO participated in field experiments with airborne scatterometry in Austria and Alaska in winter 2007/08. In addition, snow and ice sample products, generated from TerraSAR-X data and scatterometry, are applied in snow hydrology and glacier mass balance models to investigate the information content of the new sensors.

The work at JR-DIB deals with the development of methods, processing strategies and algorithms for the retrieval of anthropogenic changes on the one hand, and mapping of natural hazards like subsidence or storm damage at a basic level on the other. Therefore, stereo-radargrammetric as well as interferometric mapping techniques are adapted and tuned with respect to the characteristics of the high-resolution TerraSAR-X data. For these data, semi-automated mapping procedures and concepts for end-to-end processing lines are expected to become readily available by this project.

The synergy in the methods for SAR data processing for the two applications addressed by ENVEO and JR-DIB, is exploited by joint methodological developments. The project achievements related to forest parameter retrieval support pan European and regional assessment of forest distribution and condition with respect to GMES Core Services in GEOLAND 2 and future Downstream Services. The snow and ice component is very relevant for global cryosphere monitoring in the proposed GMES Core Service on Climate Change and for Downstream Services in water management and hydrology.

This project is carried out in co-operation with the following partners:

  • INFOTERRA GmbH, Friedrichshafen, Germany
  • Institut für Hochfrequenztechnik und Radarsysteme, DLR, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany
  • National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center NOHRSC, NWS / NOAA , Chanhassen, MN, USA
  • Institute of Oceanography, Center for Marine and Climate Research, Universität Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
  • NASA / JPL, Pasadena, CA, USA

Project Partners


ENVEO Environmental Earth Observation IT GmbH


Joanneum Research

Contact Address

ENVEO – Environmental Earth Observation IT GmbH
Technikerstr. 21a
A-6020 Innsbruck
Tel.: + 43 (512) 50748-30
E-mail: office@enveo.at
Web: www.enveo.at