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ASTER Satellite Sensor

ASTER stand for Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer, it is operating on the Terra spacecraft. The Terra satellite launched in December 1999 as part of NASA’s Earth Observing System (EOS), a Sun-synchronous polar orbit.

ASTER is a cooperative effort between NASA, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), and Japan’s Earth Remote Sensing Data Analysis Center (ERSDAC). Compared with Landsat Thematic Mapper and Japan’s JERS-1 OPS scanner, ASTER instrument is the next generation in Remote Sensing imaging.

ASTER captures high resolution data in the visible to thermal infrared wavelength spectrum and provides stereo viewing capability for DEM creation.

ASTER Satellite Sensor Specifications

Launch Date18 December 1999 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, USA
Equator Crossing10:30 AM (north to south)
Orbit705 km altitude, sun synchronous
Orbit Inclination98.3 degrees from the equator
Orbit Period98.88 minutes
Grounding Track Repeat Cycle16 days
Resolution15 to 90 meters

Sensor Characteristics

ASTER instrument consists of three subsystems: Visible and Near Infrared (VNIR), Shortwave Infrared (SWIR), and Thermal Infrared (TIR).

CharacterisicVNIRSWIRTIR
Spectral Range Wavelengths
(micrometres)
Band 1
0.52 – 0.60
Band 4
1.68 – 1.70
Band 10
8.125 – 8.475
Band 2
0.63 – 0.69
Band 5
2.145 – 2.185
Band 11
8.475 – 8.825
Band 3
0.76 – 0.86
Band 6
2.185 – 2.225
Band 12
8/925 – 9.275
Band 3
0.76 – 0.86
Band 7
2.235 – 2.285
Band 13
10.25 – 10.95
Band 8
2.295 – 2.365
Band 14
10.95 – 11.65
Band 9
2.360 – 2.430
Ground Resolution15 m30 m90 m
Swath Width60 km60 km60 km

Satellite Data Download

Download ASTER Satellite data;

  • ALL products are available to all users at no cost: ASTER L1A, L1B, L1T; Higher Level Data Products (HLDPs) created from L1A; the ASTER Global Digital Elevation Model (GDEM), and the North American ASTER Land Surface Emissivity Database (NAALSED). Registration is required for all users. Download Now
  • Search the entire ASTER data archive using a browse-based map interface. Order:1) pseudocolor natural color image as WMS/KML; 2) Level 3 orthorectified bands 1-14 with 30m DEM; 3) Global Digital Elevation Model (GDEM). Download Now

ASTER Resolution

Temporal Resolution

The ASTER products distributed from LP DAAC are produced from on-demand data acquisition requests and are not categorized by regular temporal ranges.

Spatial Resolution

The ASTER instruments acquire data in three native spatial resolutions:

  • VNIR (Visible and Near-Infrared) Bands 1, 2, 3N, 3B1: 15 meter
  • SWIR (Shortwave Infrared) Bands 4–9: 30 meter
  • TIR (Thermal Infrared) Bands 10–14: 90 meter

ASTER Spectral Bands

BandWavelengths (µm)Spatial Resolution (m)Subsystem
10.52 – 0.6015 mVNIR
20.63 – 0.6915 mVNIR
3N0.78 – 0.8615 mVNIR
3B0.78 – 0.8615 mVNIR
41.600 – 1.70030 mSWIR
52.145 – 2.18530 mSWIR
62.185 – 2.22530 mSWIR
72.235 – 2.28530 mSWIR
82.295 – 2.36530 mSWIR
92.360 – 2.43030 mSWIR
108.125 – 8.47590 mTIR
118.475 – 8.82590 mTIR
128.925 – 9.27590 mTIR
1310.25 – 10.9590 mTIR
1410.95 – 11.6590 mTIR

ASTER Processing Levels

  • Level-1A: Reconstructed, unprocessed instrument data at full resolution, time-referenced, and annotated with ancillary information, including radiometric and geometric calibration coefficients and Georeferencing parameters computed and appended but not applied to Level 0 data.
  • Level-1B: Level-1A data that have been processed to sensor units in Level-1B.
  • Level-2: Derived geophysical variables at the same resolution and location as Level-1 source data.
  • Level-3: Variables mapped on uniform space-time grid scales, usually with some completeness and consistency.

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