Enabling & Support

Interferometric Radiometer for imaging radiation emission, especially from a geostationary orbit

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ESA / Enabling & Support / Space Engineering & Technology
526 - Abstract of the offer:
The European Space Agency (ESA) presents a novel interferometric radiometer for imaging radiation emission from a target scene. The radiometer of the invention is particularly well suited for imaging the Earth in microwaves and especially in the millimetre or submillimetre waves from a geostationary orbit. The organisation is seeking partners that wish to license the technology.

Description of the offer:

Spaceborne microwave radiometers complement optical imaging in the visible and in the infrared by providing vertical profiles of temperature and humidity through the atmosphere, even in the presence of clouds, as well as information on precipitations. Often, radiometers operate in nadir viewing mode; they perform passive measurements and are able to discriminate between radiations coming from different levels in the atmosphere by observing the spectral broadening of emission lines. A 21-element demonstrator representing the central part of the 53 GHz interferometer has been developed to demonstrate a unique rotation-based imaging concept. The demonstrator supports full polarimetric measurements with a maximum baseline of ~75 cm, equivalent to 300 km resolution if positioned in geostationary orbit. The first images from outdoor measurements show that the imaging concept and algorithms performs as intended and it also demonstrates that the hardware technology is capable of receiving and detecting the very weak noise signals with sufficient sensitivity and stability to enable the system to be implemented.

The demonstrated system is a mm-wave imaging sounder considered for future meteorological and climate observation satellites. Frequency bands around 53 GHz, 118 GHz, 183 GHz, and 380 GHz are included to satisfy the user requirements for vertical profiles of temperature and humidity under all weather conditions.

Innovations and advantages:

The primary advantage of a Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) for remote sensing, compared with a Low-Earth Orbit (LEO), is that continuous monitoring is possible over a large area of the Earth's surface and atmosphere. This is highly desirable for nowcasting, and short range forecasting of rapidly evolving meteorological phenomena such as deep low pressure systems and storms.

The images from outdoor measurements show that the imaging concept and algorithms perform as intended and it also demonstrates that the hardware technology is capable of receiving and detecting the very weak noise signals with sufficient sensitivity and stability to enable the system to be implemented.

Domain of Application:

  • Meteorological Satellites
  • Satellite Microwave Communications
  • Satellite services/carriers/operators
  • Satellite ground (and others) equipment

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