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UAVSAR – Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar

The L-band radar is on a month-long Central/South America deployment onboard the AFRC C 20 aircraft (NASA 502). Twenty science flights over 11 countries (including U.S.) are planned for research on volcanic deformation, forest structure, soil moisture, glacier motion, and coastal subsidence (see coverage map). Bases of operations include Panama City, Guayaquil (Ecuador), Lima (Peru), Antofagasta (Chile), and Santiago (Chile).

UAVSAR – Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar

In light of the deadly mudslide in Arlington, Washington, KNBC News did a special video segment on landslide studies at Caltech and JPL.  Dr. Eric Fielding, our PI has done extensive study of landslides with UAVSAR data in Slumgullion, Colorado and Berkeley Hills, California.  Dr. Fielding performed an interview with KNBC where he demonstrated the use of repeat pass InSAR data over Slumgullion to monitor the small movements of hillside long before a catastrophic failure occurs.

UAVSAR – Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar

We completed two local flights last week and the Dryden G-III is undergoing maintenance for the following 6 weeks. For the data acquired in Iceland, 50% of the data takes have already been through the browse RPI processor within a week of our return from the deployment. An example browse interferogram with 24-hour separation is shown here showing high quality deformation signatures on the glaciers.

UAVSAR in Iceland

UAVSAR is on deployment in Iceland, and it has completed all 4 successful science flights regardless of one aborted flight due to an aircraft alternator issue.  The PI, Mark Simons of Caltech, was very pleased with the "fantastic observation campaign" and expressed his gratitude to the deployment crew for handling all the challenges of Iceland in the winter.  There was a public outreach event held at the US Embassy which was attended by media representatives and ambassadors of several countries as well as Dr. Simons' Icelandic collaborators.

UAVSAR – Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar

UAVSAR has embarked on a week-long Iceland deployment on January 28 to study the processes of glacier melting (PI: Mark Simons), a major contributor to rising sea levels.  We previously imaged two Icelandic ice caps in June 2012 to measure the glacier melt in the summer.  This is a return trip to image the same ice caps to study the glacier melt in winter months. A JPL press release is posted on the NASA site:

UAVSAR completes flight over Sacramento Delta Levee and San Andreas Fault

Two local flights were conducted:  imaging Sacramento Delta levees (PI: Jones); and Southern San Andreas Fault in the Los Angeles Basin (PI: Donnellan).  Serendipitously, during the Los Angeles Basin flight, we imaged the San Gabriel Mountain hillside where an active forest fire was burning (Colby Fire in Glendora).  This data set was polarimetrically processed within 48 hours over the weekend and made available (together with pre-fire data sets) to investigators interested in studying forest fire extent monitoring.

UAVSAR on Global Hawk

A 21-hour Canada flight was completed on December 18. The aircraft had 10% less range than Northrop Grumman had expected, probably due to the slightly higher drag of the UAVSAR configuration. This is the first time that the radar transited at altitudes above 50kft. Temperature readings of various radar components at 60kft altitude were high but within acceptable range.  Six data takes were recorded but were receiving error messages which indicated active array antenna commanding fault throughout the flight.

UAVSAR completes flight over Sacramento Delta Levee and San Andreas Fault

The L-band radar conducted 2 local flights for Sacramento Delta levee monitoring and San Andreas Fault monitoring as well as soil moisture measurements over Tonzi Ranch for comparison and cross-calibration with the AirMOSS data.  Production processing has recovered from the October government shutdown which prevented access to the Ames supercomputer.  For the month of November, we exceeded planned processing throughput targets by delivering 280 POLSAR products (vs 150 planned) and 491 browse RPI products (vs 140 planned).


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