Space Missions



Although huge and destructive when they reach the coast, tsunami waves at open ocean are only few centimeters high, but very broad in extension. Due to its large surface coverage PARIS instruments may detect them well before they reach the coast, as it maps a large area of the ocean at the same time.

Measurements obtained by a PARIS instrument can provide scientific inputs to study:

  • Sea Surface Height

  • Ionospheric Total Electron Content

  • Significant Wave Height

  • Wind Speed over Ocean

  • Wind Direction over Ocean

  • Polar Ice Topography

  • Sea Ice Thickness

  • Sea Ice Coverage and Ice Age

  • In-land Water Surface Height

  • Biomass and Soil Moisture


The PARIS concept is a novel multi-static RADAR. Signals transmitted by Global Navigation Satellite Sys­tems constellations -such as the US GPS , the European GALILEO, the Russian GLONASS and the Chine­se COMPASS - and other sources of opportunity, reach the PARIS instrument through the line-of-sight path and reflected on the Earth’s surface. In a few years more than 100 GNSS satellites will be available to exploit such concept,

An up-looking antenna acquires the signal coming straight fromthe transmitting satellite. A second down-looking antenna receives the signal that bounces off the Earth-surface. The instrument measures the relative delay between both signals and determines the sea-surface level.

Compared to traditional radar altimeters PARIS has a larger surface coverage as it can measure simultaneously the signals transmitted by different satellites, so that it is suited for mapping densely the ocean topography .

PARIS can also provide information on sea-surface roughness (waves) and ice-sheets extension as well as ice-thickness at the poles. A PARIS instrument can be located on an elevated area close to the coast (bridge), on an airplane or on a satellite.


The European Space Agency’s PARIS In-Orbit Demonstrator (PARIS-IoD) mission is an ocean altimeter which will implement the PARIS concept in space. Its objective is to validate the concept from space by providing enough scientific and technological ground to pave the road for a future big size mission.

Although the PARIS-IOD is a downscaled instrument from that of a full sized device, it will demonstrate accurate mesoscale ocean altimetry using reflected signals.

Secondary mission objectives comprise ionospheric total electron content, detailed characteristic of the ocean surface such as its surface height, ocean wind speeds, ocean currents and swell waves, etc.

The PARIS IoD is intended to be launched in the near future. A ROCKOT or SOYUZ are proposed as the possible launchers.

IEEC’s Contribution

The IEEC has been working over more than 10 years on the development of PARIS prototypes, experimental airborne campaigns and data processing. Instrument concepts have been invented and processing algorithms developed in the advance of PARIS science and technology.

IEEC’s contribution to PARIS involves the design and manufacturing of many hardware prototypes, experimental campaigns in the Baltic Sea, Mediterranean, and Gulf of Biscaye, Greenland and Antarctica, data analysis and software algorithms. The collected data is publicly available at

Currently IEEC-CSIC and IEEC-UPC are giving support to ESA and the European Space Industry in the definition and development of a PARIS In-Orbit Demonstrator mission, who’s aim is to validate this concept from space using a small satellite platform, as a forerunner for a future fully equipped PARIS.


This project is  sponsored by: