Thursday, April 10, 2008

ASTER Satellite System: Sensor Characteristics

Launch Date 18 December 1999 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, USA
Equator Crossing 10:30 AM (north to south)
Orbit 705 km altitude, sun synchronous
Orbit Inclination 98.3 degrees from the equator
Orbit Period 98.88 minutes
Grounding Track Repeat Cycle 16 days
Resolution 15 to 90 meters

The ASTER instrument consists of three separate instrument subsystems:

VNIR (Visible Near Infrared), a backward looking telescope which is only used to acquire a stereo pair image

SWIR (ShortWave Infrared), a single fixed aspheric refracting telescope

TIR (Thermal Infrared)

ASTER high-resolution sensor is capable of producing stereoscopic (three-dimensional) images and detailed terrain height models. Other key features of ASTER are:

  • Multispectral thermal infrared data of high spatial resolution
  • Highest spatial resolution surface spectral reflectance, temperature, and emissivity data within the Terra instrument suite
  • Capability to schedule on-demand data acquisition requests

ASTER has 14 bands of information. For more information, please see the following table:

Instrument VNIR SWIR TIR
Bands 1-3 4-9 10-14
Spatial Resolution 15m 30m 90m
Swath Width 60km 60km 60km
Cross Track Pointing ± 318km (± 24 deg) ± 116km (± 8.55 deg) ± 116km (± 8.55 deg)
Quantisation (bits) 8 8 12

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