Polarimetric Calibration of SIR-C Using Point and Distributed Targets

Kamal Sarabandi, Leland E. Pierce, M. Craig Dobson, Fawwaz T. Ulaby, James M. Stiles, T. C. Chiu, R. De Roo, R. Hartikka, A. Zambetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


In preparation for the Shuttle Imaging Radar-C/XSAR (SIR-C/XSAR) flights, the University of Michigan has been involved in the development of calibraton procedures and precision calibration devices to quantify the complex radar images with an accuracy of 0.5 dB in magnitude and 5 degrees iu phase. In this paper, the preliminary results of the SIR-C calibration and a summary of the University of Michigan's activity in the Raco calibration super-site is presented. In this calibration campaign an array of point calibration targets including trihedral corner reflectors and polarimetric active radar calibrators (PARC's) in addition to a uniform distributed target were used for characterizing the radiometric calibration constant and the distortion parameters of the C-band SAR. Two different calibration methods, one based on the application of point targets and the other based on the application of the distributed target, are used to calibrate the SIR-C data and the results are compared with calibrated images provided by JPL. The distributed target used in this experiment was a field of grass, sometimes covered with snow, whose differential Mueller matrix was measured immediately after the SIR-C overpass using The University of Michigan polarimetric scatterometer systems. The scatterometers were calibrated against a precision metallic sphere and measured 100 independent spatial samples for characterizing the differential Mueller matrix of the distributed target to achieve the desired calibration accuracy. The L-band SAR has not yet been adequately calibrated for inclusion here.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)858-866
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1995


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