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  • Autocalibrated optronic sar processor for onboard live planet observation

    Paper number



    Dr. Alain Bergeron, INO, Canada


    Mrs. Linda Marchese, INO R&D in Optics and photonics, Canada


    Ms. Sandra Turgeon, INO, Canada


    Dr. Bernd Harnisch, European Space Agency (ESA), The Netherlands


    Mr. Martin Suess, European Space Agency (ESA), The Netherlands


    Mr. Pascal Bourqui, INO R&D in Optics and photonics, Canada


    Mr. Michel Doucet, INO R&D in Optics and photonics, Canada


    Dr. François Châteauneuf, INO R&D in Optics and photonics, Canada



    Both for Earth and Interplanetary missions there is a strong need for immediate availability of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images. In Earth observation, this is especially suitable for disaster monitoring and live support of search and rescue teams. For interplanetary missions, onboard availability of images would provide a way to perform local analysis on the images, and as such to better select images to be sent to Earth. Moreover, SAR images are much easier to compress than SAR raw data, by a factor of 25 to 250 times depending on the algorithm used. As such, the onboard compression of SAR images would provide better use of the bandwidth available for downloading the data to Earth.
    SAR is based on the acquisition of multiple radar echoes to emulate a large radar antenna aperture providing the ability to produce high resolution images. SAR is the only technology that provides day and night imaging capabilities, through clouds or dense atmosphere
    INO in collaboration with ESA has developed a real-time optronic processor and studied in detail the quality of the SAR images generated. The processor is designed specifically to process ENVISAT ASAR images with no bottleneck. The rate of generation of data by the ASAR instrument is met by the processing power of the optronic processor. It is reconfigurable, that is it can adapt to various flight parameters and swath selections. Its in-orbit autocalibration capabilities can correct for flight path errors and component aging. The compact prototype further shows low power consumption which is highly suitable for interplanetary missions. 
    In this presentation, a review of the advantages of the technology will be presented with an emphasis on the processor reconfigurability and autocalibration capabilities. Moreover, images obtained from the use real SAR raw data will be presented. Finally, multilooked and multitracked images will be presented showing the high quality of the final data generated.
    Abstract document


    Manuscript document

    IAC-11,D1,2,8,x10164.pdf (🔒 authorized access only).

    To get the manuscript, please contact IAF Secretariat.