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AltiKa Radiometer: Instrument Description and In–Flight Performance

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On 25 February 2013, the Satellite for Argos and AltiKa (SARAL) was launched from the Indian Sriharikota launch site. The AltiKa payload consisted of an altimeter and a radiometer. This paper describes the AltiKa radiometer. This instrument has been studied for several years by CNES, TAS-F, ASTRIUM-F and a set of science laboratories, and AltiKa is the first compact instrument embedding simultaneously the altimeter and radiometer functions. AltiKa radiometer is a dual frequency instrument working in K (23.8 GHz) and Ka band (37 GHz), it is based on the total power principle, with direct detection receivers. On-ground acceptance tests exhibited a very high level of performance: less than 0.2 dB has been estimated for both sensitivity and absolute accuracy in both frequencies. This paper focuses on the in-flight performances that have been observed since the launch. All the instrument observable characterizations are nominal, and in-flight sensitivity has been estimated lower than 0.2 K.
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Keywords: Microwave radiometer; gain; sensitivity; tropospheric correction

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES), Toulouse, France 2: Collecte Localisation Satellites (CLS), Toulouse, France

Publication date: September 10, 2015

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