SAOCOM (Argentinean Microwave Earth Observation Satellite) is a system made of two Earth Observation satellites from the Argentinean Space Agency, CONAE. They will both carry an L-band synthetic aperture polarimetric radar.
Other features of the SAOCOM 1A are detailed below:
Operation modes are classified as follows:
- Operative: Every quality requirement and resolution specification are satisfied
- Technological: Technological innovations for assessing improvements in performance are included
- Calibration: Gathering measurements for SAR instrument calibration and noise measurements.
The available polarizations are:
- Simple (SP-Single Polarization): the system transmits Horizontal or Vertical polarization and receives the same linear polarization transmitted (HH or VV).
- Double (DP-Double Polarization): the system transmits linear polarizations and receives both linear polarizations simultaneously, i.e. HH and HV or VV and VH.
- Quadruple (QP-Quad Polarization): the system transmits alternatively both linear polarizations and receives both polarizations simultaneously i.e. HH, HV, VH and VV.
- Compact polarization (CL-POL-Circular Linear Polarization): the system transmits a circular polarization (right or left)and and receives simultaneously two linear polarizations; i.e. right-H and right-V or left-H and left-V.
Operation modes available are:
- StripMap, with simple, double or quadruple (complete) polarization. In this mode, the radar antenna points to a given fixed direction while a continuous strip is acquired, which corresponds to the narrowest and with best spatial resolution swaths.
- TOPSAR Narrow, with simple, double or quadruple (complete) polarization. In this mode, the radar antenna changes its positioning along the ground track in order to acquire several strips, covering thus more swath width with less spatial resolution than in StripMap mode.
- TOPSAR Wide, with Simple, Double, Quadruple (complete) or Compact polarization (technological mode). In this mode, the radar antenna changes its positioning along the ground track in order to acquire a greater number of strips, covering thus more swath width with less spatial resolution than in TOPSAR Narrow.
Every operation mode under simple, double and quadruple (complete) polarization is operative. The TOPSAR Wide mode with compact polarization belongs to a technological mode.