Wavemill Product Assessment:

The WaPA Project


WaPA Home






The Wavemill Instrument

The Wavemill is a new radar instrument concept that offers the possibility of generating two-dimensional wide swath, high resolution, high precision maps of surface current vectors and ocean topography. Based on a single spacecraft, it avoids the difficulties of synchronisation and baseline estimation associated with other interferometric SAR systems based on two or more satellites. Go to this ESA web page for further information on the Wavemill concept

The WaPA Project

WaPA, the Wavemill Product Assessment project, is supported by ESA under the General Studies Programme (GSP) to define the scientific capabilities and limitations of a spaceborne Wavemill instrument.

The aim of the project is to formulate:

  • a strong and justifiable scientific argument in regard to the scientific usefulness and uniqueness of the proposed Wavemill products;
  • a high level of confidence in the ability of the proposed system design to generate the proposed data sets with useful levels of accuracy for scientific applications;
  • technical rationale, which demonstrates that the implementation of the system is feasible;
  • a set of study outputs which can be used to validate and enhance the Wavemill mission requirements.

Project Team

The WaPA team is led by SatOC (UK), and includes Astrium (UK), Ifremer (France), the National Oceanography Centre (UK) and STARLAB (Spain).

Project Description

The project approach includes five main activities, with overall project management provided by SatOC:

WP1000 - Review of SAR Surface Current Velocity Retrieval

An exhaustive literature review of SAR imaging of ocean currents in along-track interferometric mode to learn from previous experiments and modelling what key phenomena need to be accounted for to determine the true performance of a spaceborne Wavemill system. This Work Package is led by NOC.

WP2000 - Validity of the Primary Scientific Products

A significant validation effort based on Wavemill airborne proof-of-concept data and numerical simulations to determine the capabilities and limitations of a spaceborne Wavemill instrument for ocean current vector and sea surface height mapping, including quantified estimates of magnitude of errors linked to unwanted effects linked wind, wave conditions or tropospheric disturbances. This Work Package is led by Starlab.

WP3000 - Scatterometry

An analysis of the potential for ocean wind vector retrieval from a spaceborne Wavemill instrument. This Work Package is led by Ifremer.

WP4000 - Potential Secondary Sources

An investigation of possible secondary products from Wavemill relating to rivers, ocean/atmosphere interactions, ocean swell and cryospheric applications. This Work Package is led by Starlab.

WP5000 - Synergistic Instrument Data

An assessment of the synergy between Wavemill and ocean surface current products derived from other remote sensing techniques, accounting for the nature and variability of the measured properties, to identify any additional requirements on a future Wavemill mission. This Work Package is led by NOC.

Satellite Oceanographic Consultants Ltd 2013