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CORDIS

SPACE SAR system with integrated photonic BEAMforming

Project description

Innovative radar receiver for enhanced Earth observation

Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) is high-resolution remote sensing technology used worldwide. The EU-funded SPACEBEAM project aims to enhance the use of this technology by developing a new radar receiver that will make reconfigurable multi-beam scan-on-receive SAR possible for Earth observation applications. The receiver will be based on an optical beamforming network realised as a photonic integrated circuit (PIC). The PIC will carry out continuous and accurate beamforming of wideband signals as well as a frequency-agnostic photonic down-conversion that will enable the direct digitisation of output signals. The radar receiver's novel features will enhance remote sensing for future Earth observation applications.

Objective

SPACEBEAM aims at designing, realizing and testing an innovative radar receiver that will enable the concept of reconfigurable multi-beam Scan-on-Receive Synthetic Aperture Radar for Earth observation applications. In order to comply with the requirements of future swarms and constellations of low-Earth orbit satellites and cubesats in terms of performance, size, weight, power consumption and cost, the envisioned receiver will be based on an optical beamforming network realized as a photonic integrated circuit (PIC). The PIC will implement a precise, continuous beamforming of wideband signals (>600MHz) from an array of 12 antenna elements into 3 beams of 4 antennas each, with the capability to flexibly change the set of antennas per beam, as well as the number of output beams (from 3 beams of 4 antennas each, to 2 of 6, to 1 of 12). At the same time, the PIC will also realize a frequency-agnostic photonic down-conversion of signals in the range from 5 to 40 GHz, down to 1.5 GHz, so that the output signals can be directly digitized. These innovative features make the SPACEBEAM PIC a powerful device for future Earth observation applications. The PIC will be implemented using two materials platforms, to achieve a compact “hybrid” chip-assembly including several active and passive functions (lasers, detectors, modulators, filters, switches, delays, phase shifters). The PIC will be controlled using a novel actuation technique based on low-power consuming piezo elements. In order to push forward the maturity of the SPACEBEAM technology (target TRL 6), the project will also develop and test a Space-compliant package for the PIC. The packaged PIC will be included in a specifically designed Engineering Qualified Model of the multi-beam SCORE-SAR sensor, to properly test the performance of the entire system. The photonics-based SCORE SAR system will therefore show more functionalities, better performance, and lower size, weight, and power consumption than the current systems.

Call for proposal

H2020-SPACE-2018-2020

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Sub call

H2020-SPACE-2019

Coordinator

SCUOLA SUPERIORE DI STUDI UNIVERSITARI E DI PERFEZIONAMENTO S ANNA
Net EU contribution
€ 407 250,00
Address
PIAZZA MARTIRI DELLA LIBERTA 33
56127 Pisa
Italy

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Region
Centro (IT) Toscana Pisa
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Total cost
€ 407 250,00

Participants (5)