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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

Satellite on-board real-time SAR processor prototype
Author(s): Alain Bergeron; Michel Doucet; Bernd Harnisch; Martin Suess; Linda Marchese; Pascal Bourqui; Nicholas Desnoyers; Mathieu Legros; Ludovic Guillot; Luc Mercier; François Châteauneuf

Paper Abstract

A Compact Real-Time Optronic SAR Processor has been successfully developed and tested up to a Technology Readiness Level of 4 (TRL4), the breadboard validation in a laboratory environment. SAR, or Synthetic Aperture Radar, is an active system allowing day and night imaging independent of the cloud coverage of the planet. The SAR raw data is a set of complex data for range and azimuth, which cannot be compressed. Specifically, for planetary missions and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems with limited communication data rates this is a clear disadvantage.

SAR images are typically processed electronically applying dedicated Fourier transformations. This, however, can also be performed optically in real-time. Originally the first SAR images were optically processed. The optical Fourier processor architecture provides inherent parallel computing capabilities allowing real-time SAR data processing and thus the ability for compression and strongly reduced communication bandwidth requirements for the satellite.

SAR signal return data are in general complex data. Both amplitude and phase must be combined optically in the SAR processor for each range and azimuth pixel. Amplitude and phase are generated by dedicated spatial light modulators and superimposed by an optical relay set-up. The spatial light modulators display the full complex raw data information over a two-dimensional format, one for the azimuth and one for the range. Since the entire signal history is displayed at once, the processor operates in parallel yielding real-time performances, i.e. without resulting bottleneck. Processing of both azimuth and range information is performed in a single pass.

This paper focuses on the onboard capabilities of the compact optical SAR processor prototype that allows in-orbit processing of SAR images. Examples of processed ENVISAT ASAR images are presented. Various SAR processor parameters such as processing capabilities, image quality (point target analysis), weight and size are reviewed.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 November 2017
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 10565, International Conference on Space Optics — ICSO 2010, 105652W (20 November 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2309247
Show Author Affiliations
Alain Bergeron, INO (Canada)
Michel Doucet, INO (Canada)
Bernd Harnisch, ESA-ESTEC (Netherlands)
Martin Suess, ESA-ESTEC (Netherlands)
Linda Marchese, INO (Canada)
Pascal Bourqui, INO (Canada)
Nicholas Desnoyers, INO (Canada)
Mathieu Legros, INO (Canada)
Ludovic Guillot, INO (Canada)
Luc Mercier, INO (Canada)
François Châteauneuf, INO (Canada)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10565:
International Conference on Space Optics — ICSO 2010
Errico Armandillo; Bruno Cugny; Nikos Karafolas, Editor(s)

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