EcoSAR: NASA’s P-band fully polarimetric single pass interferometric airborne radar

Friday, 19 December 2014: 2:55 PM
Batuhan Osmanoglu1,2, Rafael F Rincon1, Temilola E Fatoyinbo1, Seung-Kuk Lee1, Guoqing Sun3, Ozaveshe Daniyan4 and Marcus E Harcum5, (1)NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States, (2)Universities Space Research Association Greenbelt, Greenbelt, MD, United States, (3)University of Maryland College Park, College Park, MD, United States, (4)Goddard Earth Sciences Technology and Research - GESTAR; Morgan State University, Greenbelt, MD, United States, (5)Goddard Earth Sciences Technology and Research, Greenbelt, MD, United States
EcoSAR is a new airborne synthetic aperture radar imaging system, developed at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. It is a P-band sensor that employs a non-conventional and innovative design. The EcoSAR system was designed as a multi-disciplinary instrument to image the 3-dimensional surface of the earth from a single pass platform with two antennas. EcoSAR’s principal mission is to penetrate the forest canopy to return vital information about the canopy structure and estimate biomass. With a maximum bandwidth of 200 MHz in H and 120 MHz in V polarizations it can provide sub-meter resolution imagery of the study area. EcoSAR’s dual antenna, 32 transmit and receive channel architecture provides a test-bed for developing new algorithms in InSAR data processing such as single pass interferometry, full polarimetry, post-processing synthesis of multiple beams, simultaneous measurement over both sides of the flight track, selectable resolution and variable incidence angle. The flexible architecture of EcoSAR will create new opportunities in radar remote sensing of forest biomass, permafrost active layer thickness, and topography mapping.

EcoSAR’s first test flight occurred between March 27th and April 1st, 2014 over the Andros Island in Bahamas and Corcovado and La Selva National Parks in Costa Rica. The 32 channel radar system collected about 6 TB of radar data in about 12 hours of data collection. Due to the existence of radio and TV communications in the operational frequency band, acquired data contains strong radar frequency interference, which had to be removed prior to beamforming and focusing. Precise locations of the antennas are tracked using high-rate GPS and inertial navigation units, which provide necessary information for accurate processing of the imagery. In this presentation we will present preliminary imagery collected during the test campaign, show examples of simultaneous dual track imaging, as well as a single pass interferogram. The interferometric product will be compared against existing DEMs for quality assessment.