Imaging radar, or synthetic aperture radar (SAR), is one of the most rapidly developing remote sensing technologies. Over ten new radar satellites are to be launched by 2017. Radar imaging has enormous potential but requires substantial research to prove up applications.
"The CRCSI Facility has been established to expand land resource inventory and environmental monitoring programs throughout Australia and the region" said founding Director Prof Tony Milne.
investment in Earth Observation satellites
The two reports below examine options for Australian investment in Earth Observation satellites. The reports follow the April 2013 release of Australia’s Satellite Utilisation Policy.
Robust Imaging From Space is a detailed examination of options for Australian investment in Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellites. The 'case studies' and 'specifications' to the right are adjuncts of this report.
SAR satellites observe the Earth using radar, and in some areas are more useful than traditional satellite imagery like that seen on Google Earth. Many SAR applications are relevant to Australia, including flood monitoring, ship detection over wide ocean areas, and natural resource management.
Australia and SAR: A Road Map examines the applications of SAR satellites to particular applications of national significance. The applications include
- monitoring flooding under heavy cloud
- measuring the water content of agricultural crops to improve yields
- detecting and monitoring ocean oil spills
- monitoring large ships in at sea in all weather conditions
In many of these applications, satellites can perform these tasks more cost-effectively than ground based measurements.
Facility PURPOSE AND OBJECTIVES
1. Support and contribute to research and application programs/projects involving radar technologies already existing within the CRCSI
2. Become the focus for radar R&D in Australia by enhancing existing or establishing new collaborative relationships with organisations
3. Become Australia’s primary liaison with the international radar community to encourage partnerships designed to increase Australia’s participation in radar science and research
4. Promote CRCSI as innovator of new radar technologies and to offer consultancy services
5. Respond to research announcements involving radar technologies in order to encourage greater Australian involvement at both national and international levels
The use of airborne and satellite derived SAR has developed rapidly in the past three decades. Unlike optical remote sensing, radar systems provide their own source of illumination. They can therefore operate day and night. In addition, radar has an all-weather data acquisition capability with cloud, fog, rainfall, aerosols and smoke all transparent to the majority of radar frequencies.
SAR Application Case Studies
Technical specifications of operational and proposed satellite and airborne SAR sensors, including those having reached end of life : Satellite and Airborne SAR Sensor Specifications