Session

Session 5: Science / Mission Payloads I

Abstract

Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) is by now a mature remote sensing technique to obtain spatially-resolved radar measurements of terrain. Currently, SAR image data are readily available from an ever-expanding multitude of SAR satellites in Earth orbit. Many spaceborne SAR systems currently in use or planned for the near-term are multifunctional: their designs tend to maximize the menu of image modes available to the end user. They also follow fairly conventional design principles, laid down decades ago, that lead almost inevitably to large antennas and even larger spacecraft. This raises the question: how does one go about designing a SAR system that fits in a Smallsat (<200 kg) form factor? The design principles for Smallsat SARs outlined in this paper have been developed over a twenty-year period in architecting Earth-orbiting SARs such as NASA/JPL’s NISAR and ESA’s Biomass mission, as well as planetary SAR mission concepts. Example mission concepts following this approach will be presented at the end of the paper. These include an S-Band Smallsat geodetic constellation to measure surface deformation, as called for by the 2018 National Academy Decadal Survey for Earth Observation from Space. Another example is a Ka-band cubesat-sized system designed to detect changes on Earth’s surface.

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Aug 7th, 1:45 PM

Design Principles for Smallsat SARs

Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) is by now a mature remote sensing technique to obtain spatially-resolved radar measurements of terrain. Currently, SAR image data are readily available from an ever-expanding multitude of SAR satellites in Earth orbit. Many spaceborne SAR systems currently in use or planned for the near-term are multifunctional: their designs tend to maximize the menu of image modes available to the end user. They also follow fairly conventional design principles, laid down decades ago, that lead almost inevitably to large antennas and even larger spacecraft. This raises the question: how does one go about designing a SAR system that fits in a Smallsat (<200 >kg) form factor? The design principles for Smallsat SARs outlined in this paper have been developed over a twenty-year period in architecting Earth-orbiting SARs such as NASA/JPL’s NISAR and ESA’s Biomass mission, as well as planetary SAR mission concepts. Example mission concepts following this approach will be presented at the end of the paper. These include an S-Band Smallsat geodetic constellation to measure surface deformation, as called for by the 2018 National Academy Decadal Survey for Earth Observation from Space. Another example is a Ka-band cubesat-sized system designed to detect changes on Earth’s surface.