Spaceborne bistatic Synthetic Aperture Radar for remote sensing applications
This paper presents a performance analysis of spaceborne bistatic Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) for Earth observation. Since a bistatic system requires the simultaneous use of two spatially separated antennae, this paper refers to the European Space Agency ENVISAT-1 ASAR as the master mission, i.e. reflected echoes collected by ASAR are gathered also by a receiving-only slave antenna, which is on board a small satellite. Depending on orbit configuration, two mission profiles could be envisaged: two satellites flying along parallel orbits with different ascending nodes, or in one orbit plane with adequate angular separation. It is assumed that ENVISAT-1 is non-cooperative; therefore, signal synchronization and swath overlap and antenna separation control are committed to receiving-only spacecraft. To gain further insight into system geometric and radiometric characteristics and accuracy, several simulations are performed by using a computer code, which accounts for spacecraft orbit and attitude dynamics, sensor pointing geometry and Earth rotation. Numerical results and plots show the potentiality of the system for quite accurate three-dimensional measurements. In particular, thanks to system geometry, it is possible to compute target position and slant range components of velocity. Finally, further potential applications are outlined, also considering additional spin-offs for the master mission.