Title: UAVSAR Instrument: Current Operations and Planned Upgrades
Author: Yunling Lou
Organization: Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Co-Authors: Scott Hensley, Roger Chao, Cathleen Jones, Tim Miller, Chris Naftel, Mahta Moghaddam, Delwyn Moller
The Uninhabited Airborne Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) is a compact, reconfigurable, pod-based imaging radar instrument developed under NASA Earth Science Technology Office funding beginning in 2004. The L-band fully polarimetric SAR (POLSAR) with repeat-pass interferometric (RPI) observation capability currently flies underneath NASAís Gulfstream-III jet to provide measurements for science investigations in solid earth and cryospheric studies, vegetation mapping and land use classification, archaeological research, soil moisture mapping, geology and cold land processes. Since commencing operational science observations in January 2009, we have flown over 150 flights acquiring 1700 flight lines of data in 12 countries. We have delivered over 15 TB of POLSAR and RPI data products to the science investigators.
UAVSARís modular and reconfigurable design enables us to utilize the instrument as a flying test-bed for the development of future space missions. Two identical L-band radar systems (pods) were built and flight-tested. We are modifying the system to utilize two pods on the long-range high endurance Global Hawk UAV for single-pass interferometric observations to map surface topography and study vegetation structure. We also plan to modify the radar to operate in P-band and Ka-band to measure subsurface soil moisture and ice surface topography respectively.
In this paper, we will describe the current status of the radar instrument and planned modifications to upgrade the instrument for single-pass L-band interferometry on the Global Hawk, and for Ka-band and P-band operations.