Figure 1: Artist's rendition of the deployed ROSE-L spacecraft. ROSE-L will be equipped with the largest planar space radar antenna ever built. [Credits: Airbus]
Planned for launch in 2028, Radar Observing System for Europe in L-band (ROSE-L) is an Earth observing synthetic aperture radar (SAR) mission, being developed by the European Space Agency (ESA). ROSE-L aims to monitor geohazards, observe and track land use, agriculture and forestry, provide high resolution soil moisture data, and monitor the Arctic and cryosphere.
ROSE-L will carry a single instrument, the ROSE-L SAR, an L-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR). ROSE-L SAR is a high-resolution, multi-purpose and all-weather imager that aims to support existing Copernicus C-band SAR systems. It will also enhance imaging capabilities in areas of heavy vegetation coverage where its longer wavelength L-band radio is able to penetrate the canopy.
ROSE-L has a spatial resolution of 5 - 10 m for geohazard monitoring, and a revisit time of three or six days, depending on its operating mode. As well as this, it can generate volumetric soil moisture products, with a spatial resolution of 25 m2 when imaging on a regional scale, and a resolution of 50 m2 on a global scale. ROSE-L can also generate geospatial maps of sea ice development, at a resolution of 20 m.
ROSE-L is planned to operate in a sun-synchronous orbit of 693 km.
The ROSE-L SAR will be constructed by Airbus, while the majority of subsystem components will be provided by Thales Alenia Space. The ROSE-L satellite bus will be three-axis stabilised, based on the new Multi-Mission Production Line (MILA) of Thales Alenia Space, and will have a seven-and-a-half-year design life. The bus will house a set of three cameras (CAM), to monitor antenna and solar array deployment, the Power Control and Distribution Unit (PCDU), the Solar array Photovoltaic Assembly (PVA) before deployment, as well as the Ka-band transmission unit, S-band transponder and star trackers.
Support of forest management
Monitoring of polar ice sheets and ice caps
Monitoring subsidence and soil moisture
Figure 2: Volcanic uplift of the dormant Mount Longonot in Kenya as measured by Envisat from 2004 to 2006. Envisat is equipped with a radar sensor similar to the one that will be use din ROSE-L mission. [Credits: Planetary Visions/NERC-COMET/JAXA/ESA.]
Figure 3: Sentinel-1 Extra Wide Swath and ALOS-2 PALSAR-2 Wide Beam images acquired at HH- and HV polarization over Fram Strait, on Dec. 9, 2019. The PALSAR-2 images were aligned to the Sentinel images. [Credits: Johannes Lohse, UiT. From Dierking et al., 2022, IGARSS.]
Figure 4: Mangrove forest in Bangladesh is based on data from the German TanDEM-X satellite and Polarimetric InSAR techniques. [Credits: DLR TanDEM-X data, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center information product]
Planned to be launched in 2028, ROSE-L has an expected lifetime of 7.5 years.