BackForward Satellite: CRISTAL 

Satellite details
Full name Copernicus polaR Ice and Snow Topography ALtimeter
Satellite Description
  • One of the high-priority Copernicus Sentinel Expansion Missions.
  • Mission: to measure and monitor sea-ice thickness and overlying snow depth.
  • To operate in a constellation of (initially two) identical satellites, covering a period > 7 years.
  • For more details, see
Mass at launch Dry mass
Data access link no link provided
Data access information
Orbit Drifting orbit Altitude 717 km
Inclination 92 °


Status Considered
Details on Status
(as available)
  • Funding to be confirmed by EU.
  • The Qualification Acceptance Review (QAR) is currently planned for Q2 2027.
Launch ≥2027 EOL ≥2034
Last update: 2022-03-28
Associated satellite programme and related satellites

Note: red tag: no longer operational , green tag: operational , blue tag : future

Satellite Payload

All known Instruments flying on CRISTAL

Acronym Full name
IRIS Interferometric Radar altimeter for Ice and Snow
AMR-C Advanced Microwave Radiometer - C
LRR Laser Retro-Reflector
GPS GPS Receiver
Show instrument status and calibration
Telecommunication frequency or microwave sensing channel information Show expert details
Service Dir or Mode Frequency Emission designator Bandwidth Polarisation D/A Data rate or Baseband Comments
IRIS (CRISTAL) active 13500 - 13500 MHz N/R  kHz - A   Ku band altimeter
IRIS (CRISTAL) active 35750 - 35750 MHz N/R  kHz - A   Altimeter
AMR-C passive 18700 MHz 200000  kHz A   Window channel
AMR-C passive 23800 MHz 400000  kHz A   Water vapour channel
AMR-C passive 34000 MHz 700000  kHz A   Window channel
AMR-C passive 90000 - 90000 MHz   kHz A   Window channel
AMR-C passive 130000 - 130000 MHz   kHz A   Window channel
AMR-C passive 168000 - 168000 MHz   kHz A   Water vapour channel