Earth Observation

Onera is a Pioneer in Ka-band SAR Imaging

a new on-board ultra-high performance detection system that makes use of the full potential of radar/optronics synergy. The Ramses-NG (New Generation) system is a major development of the Ramses imaging system. As a military means that is critical for defense, it offers major advances in terms of radar imaging.

In 2012, an ONERA radar team conducted, on behalf of the European Space Agency (ESA), a very original imaging mission: the Kasar campaign.

ONERA's Busard motorglider has in fact carried a Ka-band SAR imaging device, which is a frequency band of very short wavelength (around 8.5 mm), over the Camargue on four occasions, with the purpose of testing its performance for environmental observation from a satellite. This band is usually used for homing devices or satellite communications.

This Ka-band, whose frequencies are at the boundary of the window of use of radar waves through the atmosphere, promises unmatched performance for altitude measurement and resolution, from a single satellite, by day or by night, regardless of the weather conditions. The main objective of the mission was to become acquainted with "Ka-images", to discover in practice the layout of roads, forests, crops, the sea, etc., in anticipation of a future space mission for the environment.

La première image en bande Ka de la campagne KaSAR
The first Ka-band image of the KaSAR campaign


While ESA launched the pioneering mission, it was because Onera had made a very compact Ka-band SAR imager for its own needs and had suggested its use to the space agency to explore its potential for satellite observation of the Earth. Great advances are expected; the applications range from current measurements on a global scale, to the measurement of the slow evolution of mountain glaciers.

BUSARD, basé au centre Onera de Salon de Provence, est piloté par un personnel de DGA Essais en vol Sous l'aile, le pod dans lequel se trouve le dispositif compact d'imagerie en bande Ka
A BUSARD, based at the ONERA Salon de Provence center, piloted by DGA Flight Testing staff. The pod in which it carries the compact Ka-band imaging device can be seen under its wing


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