The DLR research aircraft Dornier Do-228: the usual platform for the F-SAR sensor, (c) Renato Burkhart.
The SAR Technology department is primarily engaged in the development, operation and data processing of the Institute’s airborne SAR systems, as well as in research in the areas of high precision SAR focusing and image analysis.
Airborne SAR has been a central research area at the Institute for more several decades. The research work performed with the airborne systems is an important contribution to the design and operation of future innovative spaceborne SAR systems. The airborne systems are used to simulate SAR data products of future SAR systems, as well as to research new SAR imaging and processing techniques (for example bistatic SAR, circular SAR, holographic SAR, polarimetric SAR interferometry, tomography and digital beamforming). Scientific acquisition campaigns for business, universities, national and international research institutions and agencies are carried out on a regular basis to prosper the development of new information products based on SAR data.
The current operational system, the F-SAR sensor, has been entirely designed and developed by the department and can be considered as one of the most advanced and flexible airborne SAR sensors in the world. A digital beamforming extension – the so-called DBFSAR system – is currently under development. The department is also operating a large-scale Compact Test Range (CTR) facility for antenna measurements and radar cross-section characterization.
Another important research task of the department is the development of new algorithms for data processing of spaceborne SAR data, particularly exploiting new sensor capabilities and new experimental imaging modes. The specific experience of the department, arising from the complex processing of airborne SAR data, forms an ideal base and generates significant synergies.
The department consists of five groups that, taken together, constitute DLR’s entire end-to-end expertise in the area of airborne SAR. The Signal Processing and Multimodal Algorithms groups also concentrate the department’s expert knowledge concerning SAR image processing, making significant contributions to new concepts and techniques for satellite SAR systems.