Small Satellite SAR
There is a growing interest in using satellite-borne synthetic aperture radar (SAR) for remote sensing applications. Radar has none of the problems associated with cloud cover and provides useful detail. Traditionally SAR systems are large and power hungry. This area of research looks at methods to provide SAR systems on small satellites, or through constellations of small satellites flying in formation. Traditionally satellite SAR payloads have been general-purpose devices, driven to high spatial and radiometric resolution and large swath width. This research topic must investigate possible applications of special-purpose SAR payloads, better suited to small satellite systems. For example, successful monitoring of floods might be achieved with relatively low spatial and radiometric resolution. Certain SAR applications will be identified as more suitable for small satellite implementations. Further research will investigate what specific SAR technologies best (least expensively!) implement the selected application. Whilst SAR satellites to date have used large physical apertures operated in isolation, new proposals promote the use of many small apertures operating in a constellation. Research must investigate the cost, performance and risk tradeoffs implied by this decision, as well as the fundamental mathematics and engineering of multi-aperture SAR.