NASA announces open availability of Radarsat-1 data at Alaska Satellite Facility

Fairbanks, Alaska (UAF) - NASA has announced that all Radarsat-1 data archived at the Alaska Satellite Facility Distributed Active Archive Center are now open data and can be freely downloaded.

Above: A Radarsat-1 image shows sea ice covering the Chukchi and Bering seas during the winter of 2007-08. (Canadian Space Agency photo)

Anyone who has registered with the NASA Earthdata login system and agreed to the ASF end-user license agreement can now download Radarsat-1 data from the ASF DAAC.

The Alaska Satellite Facility is a part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute.

ASF operates six satellite dish antennas, four of them for NASA, that downlink Earth-observing remote sensing data from polar-orbiting government and commercial satellites.

Among those antennas is the iconic blue dish atop the UAF Elvey Building, home of the Geophysical Institute.

The Canadian Space Agency Radarsat-1 satellite was launched in 1995 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Ground support for the mission was provided by NASA through its ASF and McMurdo, Antarctica, tracking facilities.

Through an agreement between CSA and the U.S. government, synthetic aperture radar data acquired by Radarsat-1 and downlinked at the NASA ground stations were processed and archived at ASF. 

The satellite mission ended in 2013.

Protecting the environment and monitoring global change is a priority of the Canadian space program, and Radarsat-1 was the flagship of this effort. 

Because of its wide range of observation modes and frequency of repeat-pass observations, Radarsat-1 proved invaluable for monitoring sea ice and terrestrial ice sheets for climate research and for identifying and mapping land features and assessing changes over time. 

Data from the satellite were used to compile the first complete, high-resolution map of Antarctica. Mosaics from this dataset are available to download from the ASF DAAC.

CSA and NASA have cooperated since the beginning of the satellite mission to distribute processed synthetic aperture radar data through ASF, primarily to U.S. Earth science researchers.

The recent agreement between CSA and NASA now makes these data freely available to the global research community.