2004 IEEE Radar Conference

Innovative Radar Technologies - Expanding System Capabilities

 April 26-29, 2004 Wyndham Philadelphia at Franklin Plaza Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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Session 6B.3
An L-band SAR for Repeat Pass Deformation Measurements on a UAV Platform

Kevin Wheeler - JPL

Wed, 28 April 2004, 10:20 AM - 12:00 PM


We are proposing to develop a miniaturized polarimetric L-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR) for repeat-pass differential interferometric measurements of deformation for rapidly deforming surfaces of geophysical interest such as volcanoes or earthquakes that is to be flown on a unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or minimally piloted vehicle (MPV). With our proposed mechanical design approach for the radar electronics, the instrument can potentially be accommodated on a number of different applicable platforms. Upon surveying the capabilities and availabilities of UAVs and MPVs, the ALTAIR UAV and the Proteus aircraft appear to meet our criteria in terms of payload capabilities, flying altitude, and endurance. To support the repeat pass deformation capability it is necessary to control flight track capability of the aircraft to be within a specified 10 m tube with a goal of 1 m. This requires real-time GPS control of the autopilot to achieve these objectives that has not been demonstrated on these aircraft. Based on the Proteus and ALTAIR?s altitude of 13.7 km (45,000 ft), we are designing a fully polarimetric L-band radar with 80 MHz bandwidth and a 16 km range swath. The radar will have an active electronic beam steering antenna to achieve a Doppler centroid stability that is necessary for repeat-pass interferometry. This paper presents the radar configuration along with some of the trade studies for the platform and instrument.


Mr. Kevin Wheeler - JPL

Kevin Wheeler received the BSEE degree from Purdue University in 1981. He joined JPL in 1985 and has been involved in electronic hardware design for the Magellan Venus imaging radar, the AIRSAR airborne radar, the Cassini Titan radar, the GeoSAR airborne topographic mapper, and the MARSIS sounder on the Mars Express spacecraft. He is currently the instrument engineer for the UAVSAR airborne radar.

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