Artist39s concept of SWOT39s KaRIN instrument Image courtesy of NASA

Water Topography Mission Utilizes Ka-Band Radar Interferometer

May 21, 2014
The Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission will take advantage of a Ka-band radar with its wide swath to survey water surfaces at 10 times the resolution of current technologies.

Assessing the impact of climate change on freshwater resources—a rapidly growing concern on a global scale—requires comprehensive measurements. Gathering such information from space is the best method, but as of now, measurements are taken on only 15% of lakes around the world.

By using wide swath altimetry technology to gather high-resolution elevation measurements of ocean and other water surfaces, the Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission aims to survey Earth’s surface water and map ocean surface height with greater detail than previously recorded.

A soon-to-be-developed spacecraft, coming from a joint project between NASA and the French space agency Centre National d'Études Spatiales (CNES), will contain instruments to measure the ocean’s surface at 10 times the resolution of current technologies. Key among the instruments is the Ka-band radar interferometer (KaRIn) provided by NASA. KaRIn contains two Ka-band synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) antennas, both of which transmit and receive the emitted radar pulses. Its wide swath is able to cover all of the planet’s lakes, rivers, reservoirs, and oceans at least twice every 21 days.

NASA will also supply the SWOT payload module, a microwave radiometer (MR) replete with antenna, a laser retro-reflector array, a GPS receiver payload, ground support, and launch services. CNES will provide the spacecraft bus, the KaRIn instrument’s radio-frequency-unit (RFU), a dual-frequency Ku/C-band nadir altimeter, a Doppler orbitography and radio-positioning integrated-by-satellite (DORIS) receiver package, satellite command and control, and data-processing infrastructure. The two agencies began initial studies for the mission in 2009 and plan to complete preliminary design activities in 2016, with a planned launch in 2020.

About the Author

Iliza Sokol | Associate Digital Editor

Iliza joined the Penton Media group in 2013 after graduating from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a BS in Advertising and Marketing Communications. Prior to joining the staff, she worked at NYLON Magazine and a ghostwriting firm based in New York.

Sponsored Recommendations

Wideband MMIC LNA with Bypass

June 6, 2024
Mini-Circuits’ TSY-83LN+ wideband, MMIC LNA incorporates a bypass mode feature to extend system dynamic range. This model operates from 0.4 to 8 GHz and achieves an industry leading...

Expanded Thin-Film Filter Selection

June 6, 2024
Mini-Circuits has expanded our line of thin-film filter topologies to address a wider variety of applications and requirements. Low pass and band pass architectures are available...

Mini-Circuits CEO Jin Bains Presents: The RF Engine of the 21st Century

June 6, 2024
In case you missed Jin Bains' inspiring keynote talk at the inaugural IEEE MTT-S World Microwave Congress last week, be sure to check out the session recording, now available ...

Selecting VCOs for Clock Timing Circuits A System Perspective

May 9, 2024
Clock Timing, Phase Noise and Bit Error Rate (BER) Timing is critical in digital systems, especially in electronic systems that feature high-speed data converters and high-resolution...