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Proceedings Paper

Concepts and technologies for synthetic aperture radar from MEO and geosynchronous orbits
Author(s): Wendy N. Edelstein; Soren N. Madsen; Alina Moussessian; Curtis Chen
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Paper Abstract

The area accessible from a spaceborne imaging radar, e.g. a synthetic aperture radar (SAR), generally increases with the elevation of the satellite while the map coverage rate is a more complicated function of platform velocity and beam agility. The coverage of a low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite is basically given by the ground velocity times the relatively narrow swath width. The instantaneously accessible area will be limited to some hundreds of kilometers away from the sub-satellite point. In the other extreme, the sub-satellite point of a SAR in geosynchronous orbit will move relatively slowly, while the area which can be accessed at any given time is very large, reaching thousands of kilometers from the sub-satellite point. To effectively use the accessibility provided by a high vantage point, very large antennas with electronically steered beams are required. Interestingly, medium Earth orbits (MEO) will enable powerful observational systems which provide large instantaneous reach and high mapping rates, while pushing technology less than alternative systems at higher altitudes. Using interferometric SAR techniques which can reveal centimeter-level (potentially sub-centimeter) surface displacements, frequent and targeted observations might be key to developing such elusive applications as earthquake forecasting. This paper discusses the basic characteristics of a SAR observational system as a function of the platform altitude and the technologies being developed to make such systems feasible.

Paper Details

Date Published: 11 January 2005
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 5659, Enabling Sensor and Platform Technologies for Spaceborne Remote Sensing, (11 January 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.578989
Show Author Affiliations
Wendy N. Edelstein, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Soren N. Madsen, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Alina Moussessian, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Curtis Chen, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5659:
Enabling Sensor and Platform Technologies for Spaceborne Remote Sensing
George J. Komar; Jinxue Wang; Toshiyoshi Kimura, Editor(s)

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