Radar microsatellite constellation unveiled for remote sensing

October 09, 2019 //By Rich Pell
Radar microsatellite constellation unveiled for remote sensing
Cloud-based geographic information systems (GIS) analysis services company EOS Data Analytics (Menlo Park, CA) has unveiled a project to develop its own synthetic aperture radar (SAR) sensors intended for deployment in a constellation of microsatellites.

The project, called EOS SAR , has been in stealth mode for over two years. The decision to create its own SAR satellite constellation, says the company, was informed by the in-depth understanding of commercial and government remote sensing markets it has developed in more than 5 years of experience in developing data analytics products and cloud services for optical and SAR data from satellites.

"EOS learned that the remote sensing market has strong demand for high-resolution high-quality SAR data, but low supply of such data," says Max Polyakov, CEO of EOS and Managing Partner at Noosphere Ventures. "The choice of SAR technology is driven by the need to image Earth's surface through dense cloud cover, in any season and all weather. It is critical for users to have access to uninterrupted, persistent situational awareness."

The company's engineers have already designed a radar prototype and are moving ahead with the development of a low-cost high-performance SAR payload for small satellites with ultra-high resolution down to 25 cm. The satellites will operate in Stripmap and Spotlight modes (including interferometry) and will cover a wide range of applications.

The company says it is also considering dual-frequency SAR in X-band and S-band on a single satellite. Dual-band operation increases versatility for all weather imaging and improves object-ground contrast. A special configuration of the radar front end allows for imaging of selected areas in both bands in a single orbit.

The SAR payload incorporates a deployable reflector antenna developed in-house at EOS. This antenna technology, says the company, enables EOS SAR instruments to improve satellite efficiency and offer superior image quality. Moreover, the antenna itself has low mass and dimensional characteristics, making it more favorable and less costly to launch the satellite into orbit.

"EOS is strategically leveraging deep expertise and diverse capabilities within Noosphere Ventures portfolio including radar electronics, deployable antennas, propulsion systems, batteries, and data analytics in order to create a SAR

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