Sensor Types

Abbreviation Name Description
Alt RADAR Altimeter Microwave pulse used to measure altitude from satellite to Earth's surface, useful for determining the ocean's height
PAN Panchromatic Provides grayscale images, wavelength region 400 - 700 nm
RIR Red-Near-Infrared Has a minimum of a red (680 nm) and near-infrared (~800 nm) channel, for vegetation monitoring with NDVI
Red Red Has at least one channel near 680 nm
SAR-C C-Band Synthetic Aperture RADAR SAR systems use multiple looks along the flight direction to improve the resolution by using the RADAR return Doppler shift at each position. RADAR return strength is dependent on the surface roughness relative to the wavelength and the electrical characteristics (dielectric constant, which is the electrical energy that is stored, absorbed, and conducted by the surface). C-Band wavelengths are about 3-8 cm. See the Jet Propulsion Laboratory SAR site for more information about SAR.
SAR-K K-Band SAR K-band wavelengths are about 1-2 cm
SAR-L L-Band SAR L-band wavelengths are about 15-30 cm
SAR-P P-Band SAR P-band wavelengths are about 30-100 cm
SAR-S S-Band SAR S-band wavelengths are about 7-15 cm
SAR-X X-Band SAR X-band wavelengths are about 2-4 cm
SAR-Q Q-Band SAR Q-band wavelengths are about 1 cm
SAR-W W-Band SAR W-band wavelengths are about 0.3 cm
SWIR Short-Wave Infrared At least one channel in the range 1300-3000 nm
TIR Thermal Infrared At least one channel in the range 3000+ nm
VIS Visible Multiple channels in the visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum (400-700 nm)
VNIR Visible-Near-Infrared Multiple channels in the visible through near-infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum (400-1300 nm)

Last updated: July 2001