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ESA's Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity Mission: Mission Performance and Operations

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11 Author(s)
Mecklenburg, S. ; ESA-ESRIN, Eur. Space Agency, Frascati, Italy ; Drusch, M. ; Kerr, Y.H. ; Font, J.
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The European Space Agency's Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) mission was launched on the 2nd of November 2009. The first six months after launch, the so-called commissioning phase, were dedicated to test the functionalities of the spacecraft, the instrument, and the ground segment including the data processors. This phase was successfully completed in May 2010, and SMOS has since been in the routine operations phase and providing data products to the science community for over a year. The performance of the instrument has been within specifications. A parallel processing chain has been providing brightness temperatures in near-real time to operational centers, e.g., the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts. Data quality has been within specifications; however, radio-frequency interference (RFI) has been detected over large parts of Europe, China, Southern Asia, and the Middle East. Detecting and flagging contaminated observations remains a challenge as well as contacting national authorities to localize and eliminate RFI sources emitting in the protected band. The generation of Level 2 soil moisture and ocean salinity data is an ongoing activity with continuously improved processors. This article will summarize the mission status after one year of operations and present selected first results.

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Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:50 ,  Issue: 5 )