Design of a generic 3-D scene generator for passive optical missions and its implementation for the ESA's FLEX/Sentinel-3 tandem mission

During the design phase of a satellite mission, end-to-end mission performance simulator (E2ES) tools allow scientists and engineers evaluating the mission concept, consolidating system technical requirements and analyzing the suitability of the implemented technical solutions and data processing algorithms. The generation of synthetic scenes is one of the core parts of an E2ES, providing scenes (ground truth) as would be observed by satellite instruments and used as reference against simulated retrieved mission products. An appropriate generation of the scene also allows assessing the performance of the ground data processing chain replacing real instrument data before the mission is in orbit, for which the fidelity of the scene generation is critical. This paper describes the design of a generic scene generator (GSG) with capabilities to generate complex 3-D synthetic scenes that combine the effects of surface, heterogeneity, topography and atmosphere, and viewing/illumination geometry. The proposed design allows generating consistent high spatial and spectral resolution top-of-atmosphere radiance scenes for multiple instruments based on the use of thematic maps, radiative transfer models, and reflectance databases. The described GSG was implemented within the FLuorescence EXplorer (FLEX) E2ES software tool and showed its capabilities to generate compatible scenes for the fluorescence imaging spectrometer, ocean and land color instrument, and sea and land surface temperature radiometer instruments of ESA's FLEX/Sentinel-3 tandem mission and to validate the fulfillment of the FLEX mission requirements.
Tenjo, Carolina; Rivera-Caicedo, Juan Pablo; Sabater, Neus; Servera, Jorge Vicent; Alonso, Luis; Verrelst, Jochem and Moreno, Jose
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IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
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