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In this paper, the design of a minisatellite FLOwer constellation (FC), deploying millimeter-wave (MMW) scanning RADiometers, namely, FLORAD, and devoted to tropospheric observations, is analyzed and discussed. The FLORAD mission is aimed at the retrieval of thermal and hydrological properties of the troposphere, specifically temperature profile, water-vapor profile, cloud liquid content, and rainfall and snowfall rate. The goal of frequent revisit time at regional scale, coupled with quasi-global coverage and relatively high spatial resolution, is here called pseudogeostationary scale and implemented through a FC of three minisatellites in elliptical orbits. FCs are built on compatible (resonant) orbits and can offer several degrees of freedom in their design. The payload MMW channels for tropospheric retrieval were selected following the ranking based on a reduced-entropy method between 90 and 230 GHz. Various configurations of the MMW radiometer multiband channels are investigated, pointing out the tradeoff between performances and complexity within the constraint of minisatellite platform. Statistical inversion schemes are employed to quantify the overall accuracy of the selected MMW radiometer configurations.
Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:47 , Issue: 9 )
Date of Publication: Sept. 2009