|SeaVoX Device Catalogue
|The Radar Altimeter (RA) is a nadir-pointing active microwave sensor designed to measure the time return echoes from ocean and ice surfaces. Functioning in one of two operational modes (ocean or ice), the Radar Altimeter provides information on significant wave height, surface wind speed, sea surface elevation which relates to ocean currents, the surface geoid and tides, plus various parameters over sea ice and ice sheets. RA operates by timing the two-way delay for a short duration radio frequency pulse, transmitted vertically downwards. The required level of accuracy in range measurement calls for a pulse compression (chirp) technique. In ocean mode a chirped pulse of 20 microsecond duration is generated with a band width of 330 MHz. For tracking in ice mode an increased dynamic range is used, obtained by reducing the chirp bandwidth by a factor of four to 82.5 MHz, though resulting in a coarser resolution. RA operates in the Ku-band at 13.8 GHz, with an accuracy in range better than 10cm. Flown on ERS-1, ERS-2. https://earth.esa.int/web/guest/missions/esa-operational-eo-missions/ers/instruments/ra
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