GMES Sentinel-1 Soil Moisture Algorithm Development (S1-SMAD)

2010-09-01 – 2011-08-31

The European Space Agency is currently developing Sentinel-1, a constellation of two polar-orbiting C-band radar satellites for operational Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) applications. The Sentinel-1 mission is designed for continuous and operational monitoring. The goal is to map the European land mass once every four days in Interferometric Wide Swath (IWS) mode, and the global land surface at least once every 12 days. Such a high temporal sampling rate is expected to be very useful for monitoring soil moisture and other dynamic hydrologic process variables. The objective of this activity is to develop, verify and validate a prototype processor for an operational global Sentinel-1 soil moisture service based on single (HH or VV) and dual polarised (HH+HV or VV+VH) IWS mode data. To meet the requirements from operational soil moisture data users, products must be delivered within 3 hours from observations in all cases. If the IWS acquisition is within the coverage of a receiving station, product delivery time shall be reduced to 1 hour and for special cases to 10 minutes. This means that the processing of the IWS soil moisture product shall only take a few minutes, requiring a very efficient algorithm/software solution. This project shall demonstrate that such a global Sentinel-1 soil moisture service is feasible and scientifically mature.

Project manager

Project members

  • Michael Hornacek
  • Jean-Pierre Klein
  • Daniel Sabel
  • Schahram Dustdar
  • Hong-Linh Truong




  • Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e. V.
  • Institut für Informationssysteme