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Bistatic SAR experiments with PAMIR and TerraSAR-X - setup, processing, and image results

: Walterscheid, I.; Espeter, T.; Brenner, A.R.; Klare, J.; Ender, J.H.G.; Nies, H.; Wang, R.; Loffeld, O.


IEEE transactions on geoscience and remote sensing 48 (2010), No.8, pp.3268-3279
ISSN: 0196-2892
ISSN: 0018-9413
Journal Article
Fraunhofer FHR

The spatial separation of the transmitter and the receiver in bistatic synthetic aperture radar (SAR) enables a variety of data acquisition geometries to achieve benefits like the increased information content of bistatic SAR data. In the case of hybrid bistatic SAR constellations where the transmitter is spaceborne and the receiver is onboard an aircraft, one has to deal with a huge discrepancy between platform velocities. This paper presents bistatic spaceborne/airborne SAR experiments, where the radar satellite TerraSAR-X is used as a transmitter and the airborne SAR sensor Phased Array Multifunctional Imaging Radar (PAMIR) of the Fraunhofer Institute for High Frequency Physics and Radar Techniques (FHR) is used as a receiver. Both sensors are equipped with phased-array antennas, which offer the possibility of beam steering and could be used for the first time for the "double sliding spotlight mode." In this mode, the space-and airborne sensors operate with different sliding factors (ratio between footprint and platform velocity). The performance of two different experiments is analyzed, and the novel double sliding spotlight mode is presented. This paper describes the experimental setups, the synchronization system, and the data acquisition. The image results were processed by a modified backprojection algorithm and a frequency-domain algorithm. The analysis of the final bistatic images comprises the spatial resolution and the scattering behavior of selected objects. Parts of the bistatic SAR images are compared with the corresponding monostatic images of PAMIR and TerraSAR-X. It will be shown that hybrid bistatic SAR is a worthwhile and helpful addition to current monostatic SAR.