Air­borne Radar (F-SAR)

F-SAR installed on board the DLR Do 228-212 research aircraft
F-SAR in­stalled on board the DLR Do 228-212 re­search air­craft
Image 1/5, Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

F-SAR installed on board the DLR Do 228-212 research aircraft

Radar an­ten­nas are mount­ed un­der the fuse­lage be­hind the wing and in front of the main land­ing gear.
Former German armed forces air base, Kaufbeuren
For­mer Ger­man armed forces air base, Kauf­beuren
Image 2/5, Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Former German armed forces air base, Kaufbeuren

The for­mer Bun­deswehr air base, Kauf­beuren, lies about 70 kilo­me­tres away from the DLR Oberp­faf­fen­hofen site. Radar re­flec­tors are set up along the run­way for test­ing and cal­i­bra­tion pur­pos­es. This is a high-res­o­lu­tion, po­lari­met­ric F-SAR im­age in the X-band (2018).
Ancient lava and basalt formations on the south coast of Iceland
An­cient la­va and basalt for­ma­tions on the south coast of Ice­land
Image 3/5, Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Ancient lava and basalt formations on the south coast of Iceland

An­cient la­va and basalt for­ma­tions on the south coast of Ice­land on the Reyk­janessk­a­gi Penin­su­la, where the con­ti­nen­tal plates of Eura­sia and Amer­i­ca drift apart. This is a po­lari­met­ric F-SAR im­age in the X-band (2015).
Cuxhaven harbour facilities and city centre
Cux­haven har­bour fa­cil­i­ties and city cen­tre
Image 4/5, Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Cuxhaven harbour facilities and city centre

The har­bour fa­cil­i­ties and city cen­tre of Cux­haven at the mouth of the riv­er Elbe. This is a high-res­o­lu­tion, po­lari­met­ric F-SAR im­age in the X-band (2016).
Dornier 228-212
Dornier 228-212
Image 5/5, Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Dornier 228-212

The Dornier 228-212 sup­ports DLR's re­search flight op­er­a­tions and has been part of the air­craft fleet of the Flight Ex­per­i­ments fa­cil­i­ty since 1991.

The large-scale airborne synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) facility, referred to as F-SAR, is based at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) Microwaves and Radar Institute in Oberpfaffenhofen. Used on board the DLR Dornier Do 228-212 research aircraft, the system is in a class of its own in terms of performance. F-SAR is the only facility of its kind in the world; it provides high-quality SAR image data in five different frequency bands (X, C, S, L and P) – up to four of these bands can be used simultaneously. At the same time, F-SAR offers fully polarimetric measurement modes in all of these bands, as well as single-pass interferometric imaging.

Precise surveying of Earth’s surface along predefined flight paths

A Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) supported precision positioning system integrated into F-SAR enables pilots to fly predefined flight paths with metre precision. This ensures a high level of data quality, which is especially important for multi-pass SAR interferometry. Precisely flown interferometric base lines are a prerequisite for applications such as detecting elevation and subsidence of Earth’s surface (D-InSAR) or determining the height of forests (Pol-InSAR and TomoSAR). In addition, F-SAR is notable for its highly accurate measurement capabilities; this is ensured by the precise estimation of signal transmission proper-ties in the laboratory and the operation of a permanent calibration field.

This large-scale system is used to develop innovative signal processing methods and test new measure-ment processes in the fields of the environment, transport and security. For this purpose, F-SAR con-ducts targeted scientific flight campaigns, often in conjunction with external research institutions. The data obtained forms the basis for further research and teaching in Earth observation and environmental sciences. Expertise relating to synthetic-aperture radar technology and its applications is essential for the conception and optimisation of future satellite missions (such as High Resolution Wide Swath (HRWS), Tandem-L, BIOMASS). The same applies to future airborne systems, such as those focused on the monitoring and protection of coastal waters.

Contact
  • Volker Speelmann
    Head of Cen­tral Ex­pen­di­ture Man­age­ment
    Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR)
    Telephone: +49 2203 601-4103
    Fax: +49 2203 601 4115
    Linder Höhe
    51147 Cologne
    Contact
  • Ralf Horn
    Head of the Air­borne SAR Mis­sions Group
    Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR)
    Mi­crowaves and Radar In­sti­tute
    SAR Tech­nol­o­gy
    Telephone: +49 8153 28-2384
    Fax: +49 8153 28-1135
    Münchener Straße 20
    82234 Oberpfaffenhofen-Weßling
    Contact

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