Japan: The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has received images from the Phased Array Type L-band Aperture Rader-2 (PALSAR-2) aboard the Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2 “DAICHI-2” (ALOS-2). The DAICHI-2 was launched on May 24, 2014, and it is currently under initial functional verification. The images were captured during the verification stage.
The DAICHI-2's observation data is expected to contribute to understanding damages from a disaster, monitoring deforestation, and sea ice observation in the Sea of Okhotsk and Arctic area.
JAXA is continuing the initial functional verification to confirm that the DAICHI-2 satisfies its designated performances. After the confirmation, observation data will be calibrated from mid August. JAXA plans to start offering images to the general public in late November.
The image above shows the observation image by PALSAR-2 with its strip map mode (resolution of about three meters) at around 11:43 a.m. on June 19 (Japan Standard Time) and an attached map indicates the observed area. The resolution of three meters, which is considered to be one of the world’s best for the L-band synthetic aperture radar aboard an Earth observation satellite. Through this high resolution, the DAICHI-2 is expected to understand the situation in a disaster-hit area more precisely.
The above image is an enlarged version of an image around the Urayasu city area. For comparison, the images of the same area taken by two other L-band synthetic aperture radars are also displayed. One was shot by the ALOS, which was launched in 2006 and acquired the image in the same year, and the other is the Japanese Earth Recourse Satellite-1 (JERS-1 or FUYO-1), which was launched in 1992 and observed the area in the same year. You can see the resolution of the DAICHi-2 is higher compared to past satellites.
JAXA claims that PALSAR-2 is the only satellite onboard synthetic aperture radar using the L-band frequency, which is suitable for observing diastrophism and the Earth's environment. It can perform observations on the Earth's surface regardless of weather conditions and the time of day.