No 2 (2022) Technical mechanics
Technical mechanics, 2022, 2, 59 - 70
Present-day low-orbit constellations of Earth remote sensing spacecraft with synthetic aperture radar
Volosheniuk O. L.
Volosheniuk O. L.
Institute of Technical Mechanics of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and the State Space Agency of Ukraine
The purpose of this work is to determine the current trends in the development of low-orbit constellations of
spacecraft with synthetic aperture radar (SAR), which have a number of significant advantages in Earth remote
sensing. It is shown that the demand for Earth remote sensing data and products and services based thereon
continues to grow worldwide. The applicability of SAR to Earth remote sensing is considered. The main
differences and advantages of image acquisition using SAR spacecraft in comparison with optical spacecraft
are shown. The main directions of using low-orbit SAR spacecraft in Earth remote sensing are identified. Land
and water surface observation using SAR spacecraft is shown to be one of the most effective remote sensing
methods. In particular, it is shown that low-orbit spacecraft constellations can be used to advantage in
solving many tasks in the socio-economic sector and tasks aimed at continuous real-time monitoring of various
objects. The characteristics of the various Earth remote sensing spacecraft constellations, in particular
low-orbit commercial ones, launched into orbit during the past decade are considered. Problems in and prospects
for the development of low-orbit SAR spacecraft constellations are elucidated. Existing and planned SAR
spacecraft constellations with traditional and mini-satellite platform technologies are overviewed. It is shown
that the performance characteristics continue to improve, thus allowing one to get data from any area of the
Earth at any time. It is shown that small spacecraft in low and ultralow orbits have significant benefits over
traditional spacecraft in power characteristics, but are outperformed by them in the duration of communication
sessions and active life. The results obtained make it possible to work out recommendations on the designing
of low-orbit constellations of domestic Earth remote sensing spacecraft, in particular on the development of
orbit determination models and algorithms and spacecraft dynamics models.
Earth remote sensing, low-orbit spacecraft constellations, synthetic aperture radar, spatial resolution, swath width, scene, revisit time
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