1 National Space Institute, Technical University of Denmark2 Microwaves and Remote Sensing, National Space Institute, Technical University of Denmark3 European Space Agency4 NASA Goddard Space Flight Center5 Centre d’Etudes Spatiales de la Biosphère6 DLR7 Polytechnic University of Catalonia8 Aalto University9 SMOS Barcelona Expert Centre10 National Space Science Center11 NASA Goddard Space Flight Center12 Aalto University
The launch of the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) mission on 2 November 2009 marked a milestone in remote sensing for it was the first time a radiometer capable of acquiring wide field of view images at every single snapshot, a unique feature of the synthetic aperture technique, made it to space. The technology behind such an achievement was developed, thanks to the effort of a community of researchers and engineers in different groups around the world. It was only because of their joint work that SMOS finally became a reality. The fact that the European Space Agency, together with CNES (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales) and CDTI (Centro para el Desarrollo Tecnologico e Industrial), managed to get the project through should be considered a merit and a reward for that entire community. This paper is an invited historical review that, within a very limited number of pages, tries to provide insight into some of the developments which, one way or another, are imprinted in the name of SMOS.