Abstract's details

CRISTALair, the CRISTAL Airborne Demonstrator

Albert Garcia-Mondejar (isardSAT, Spain)


Ferran Gibert (isardSAT, Spain); Chris Ray (isardSAT, Spain); Clara Colet (isardSAT, Spain); Ester Vendrell (isardSAT, Spain); Adriano Meta (MetaSensing, Italy); Matteo Desantis (MetaSensing, Italy); Massimo Fodonipi (MetaSensing, Italy); Henriette Skourup (Technical University of Denmark, Denmark); Sebastian Bjerregaard Simonsen (Technical University of Denmark, Denmark); Michele Scagliola (RHEA / ESA-ESRIN, Italy); Paolo Cipollini (ESA-ESTEC, Nederlands); Valeria Gracheva (ESA-ESTEC, Nederlands)

Event: 2023 Ocean Surface Topography Science Team Meeting

Session: Science IV: Altimetry for Cryosphere and Hydrology

Presentation type: Type Oral

Contribution: PDF file


CRISTAL (Copernicus polaR Ice and Snow Topography ALtimeter) will be the first mission to carry a dual-frequency synthetic-aperture radar altimeter as its primary payload. The altimeter will have interferometric capabilities at Ku-band to improve the across-track resolution and a second Ka-band frequency to provide information on snow layer properties. The development of a novel mission like CRISTAL is crucially dependent on dedicated campaigns that provide the essential data for the L1 and L2 algorithm development and validation.

CRISTALair succeeds ASIRAS (Airborne SAR/Interferometric Radar System), which operated in both the Arctic and Antarctic from 2004 to 2019. The main advancement in CRISTALair lies in its ability to acquire data simultaneously in Ku- and Ka-band, elevating the Science Readiness Level (SRL) of dual-band algorithms/processings. Beyond the dual-band radar, CRISTALair will integrate an airborne laser scanner, a color-infrared camera, and ancillary equipment to ensure precise positioning and attitude of the interferometer. Additionally, man-made external reflectors will facilitate the performance evaluation of the instrument.

The Development of CRISTALair started in March 2023 and it is currently in the Preliminary Design phase. The first testing flight campaign is planned for October 2024 where the full capabilities of the measurements will be evaluated.

Within this presentation we will provide details about the key design constraints, expected performances and the current status of the instrument development.


Oral presentation show times:

Room Start Date End Date
Tortuga Beach Room (#209A) Fri, Nov 10 2023,17:00 Fri, Nov 10 2023,17:15
Albert Garcia-Mondejar