Radar Concepts Department

The Radar Concepts department develops innovative techniques, technologies and information retrieval algorithms for future radar remote sensing systems, missions and applications. The research areas cover a wide spectrum, including the investigation of new SAR imaging modes and instrument architectures based on digital beamforming and multi-aperture signal processing, the design and analysis of bistatic and multistatic satellite systems and missions, and the quantitative retrieval of bio/geo-physical parameters from interferometric and polarimetric SAR data. Further key topics are wide-area traffic monitoring, end-to-end simulation of SAR systems and missions, modeling of propagation effects in the ionosphere, and the development of new sensor concepts for both terrestrial and extraterrestrial missions and applications.

Besides its research activities, the Radar Concepts department provides notable support to the Satellite SAR Systems department in view of the implementation and conduction of approved SAR missions. Examples are the development and operation of the science service segment, the definition, implementation and validation of algorithms for higher-level products, and the assistance in various engineering aspects related to mission and instrument design and performance. The Radar Concepts department is moreover involved in a large number of national and international third-party studies and plays an active role in the definition of ESA missions, e.g., via the participation in the BIOMASS Mission Advisory Group (MAG) or by various proposals for future Earth Explorer Missions.

The department’s activities are guided by its strategic focus on the conception, development and design of pioneering radar missions for cutting-edge remote sensing applications. A recent example is the development of the Tandem-L mission concept with its highly innovative radar satellites providing a number of unique Earth observation products. The long-term vision is the development of an intelligent, reconfigurable, scalable and affordable network of cooperating radar satellites, which will serve together as a global real-time microwave observatory of our planet Earth. Such an observatory satisfies not only the ever-increasing user demands regarding operational availability, timeliness, resolution and data quality, but it paves also the way for new and revolutionary applications and services.

Research and Project Groups

SAR Missions

The SAR Missions group develops and elaborates proposals for future mono-, bi- and multistatic radar missions. The high-level user requirements are analyzed and translated into a set of detailed mission requirements, from which appropriate mission concepts are derived. The mission definition relies on in-depth investigations and simulations regarding the end-to-end SAR system and mission performance taking into account acquisition frequency and coverage, orbit and satellite formation geometry, etc. Implementation trade-offs are assessed and the mission design is optimized by implementing global-scale performance models, which are used to simulate and evaluate the performance of higher-level products for different acquisition timelines. The new mission concepts employ also highly advanced SAR imaging techniques and technologies like multi-channel receiver systems, digital beamforming, and multistatic satellite formations. The research activities encompass novel algorithms for bi- and multistatic SAR focusing and synchronization, distributed and fractionated SAR systems like MirrorSAR, new mission concepts in medium Earth and geosynchronous orbits, and experiments with TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X to demonstrate new SAR imaging modes and applications. With its unique know-how, the SAR Missions group is involved in a large number of third-party studies and it has elaborated over the past years a number of bi- and multistatic mission proposals like PicoSAR, SESAME and IRIS. It furthermore supports the Satellite SAR Systems department with dedicated investigations in the areas of bistatic synchronization, end-to-end simulation and mission performance assessment.


Prof. Dr.-Ing. Gerhard Krieger

Head of Deparment: Radar concepts
Microwaves and Radar Institute
Radar concepts
Muenchener Strasse 20, 82234 Wessling