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ALOS satellite snaps Europe

ESA has for the first time acquired and processed images sent by ALOS Japan's four-tonne satellite dedicated to land-based Earth Observation including views of Italy, The Netherlands and Norway.

ESA is supporting ALOS as a 'Third Party Mission', which means the agency is utilising its multi-mission ground segment of existing European facilities and expertise to acquire, process and distribute data from the satellite.

"We have received high-quality data from ALOS, and our team has worked extremely hard and done a great job acquiring and processing the images. We are very excited about the future data we will receive from ALOS and think they will be very beneficial to users," ESA's Third Party Mission Manager Bianca Hoersch said.

ALOS captured the image of Naples, Italy, with its Advanced Visible and Near Infrared Radiometer type-2 (AVNIR-2), which is designed to chart land cover and vegetation in visible and near infrared spectral bands.

The images of The Netherlands and Norway were captured by the Phased Array type L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (PALSAR) instrument a microwave radar instrument that can acquire observations during both day and night and through any weather conditions.

The images were acquired on 28 April and 1 May 2006 at Kiruna Esrange and were processed at ESRIN, ESA's Earth observation centre in Frascati, Italy.

In addition to these instruments, ALOS also carries the Panchromatic Remote-sensing Instrument of Stereo Mapping (PRISM), which can observe selected areas in three dimensions, down to a high 2.5-metre spatial resolution.

ALOS delivered into a 700-kilometre polar orbit on 24 January 2006 from the Tanegashima Space Centre in Japan is now in its nine-month Commissioning Phase.

Based on a cooperative agreement with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), ESA is hosting the ALOS European Data Node (ADEN), delivering near-real time and offline data to scient
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Contact: Mariangela D'Acunto
mariangela.dacunto@esa.int
39-069-418-0856
European Space Agency
17-May-2006


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