Skip Navigation LinksEUSAR EUSAR 2016 Special Invited Session

Special Invited Session 

Special Invited Session 


16:10 - 16:35

The Role of Radar in NASA's Earth and Planetary Exploration Programs

Scott Hensley (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, USA)




Scott Hensley, Diane Evans, Paul Rosen and Jakob Van Zyl
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

NASA has used radars for Earth and planetary remote sensing for decades. These radars have been developed for a wide range of science applications and consequently their designs have spanned a wide range of radar frequencies, radar technologies and modes of operation. Spaceborne radar for remote sensing of Earth began with the NASA/JPL L-band Seasat radar in 1978 and continues today with radars used to monitor sea surface winds, sea salinity, soil moisture, clouds and rain, and ocean topography. Earth radars currently in development include the NISAR mission, a partnership with the Indian Space Research Organisation to fly a L-band/S-band SAR for solid earth, ecosystem and cyrosphere science, and the SWOT mission, a partnership with CNES to fly a Ka-band interferometric radar to derive mesospheric scale ocean heights and land surface water topography. A robust airborne program provides a testbed for spaceborne radar instruments as well as new science observations.

Radar observations have been equally important for planetary science investigations. Planetary radars have included the Magellan mission to Venus with its S-band SAR, altimeter and radiometer, the Ku-band Cassini radar that is exploring the Saturn system including its moon Titan, and the MARSIS and SHARAD sounders operating at Mars. Future planetary missions being planned or proposed include sounders for Enceladus and Europa, an interferometric mapping radar for Venus and Titan, and a P-band SAR for Mars. This talk will survey these missions, emphasizing the continued and growing role of radars in both Earth and planetary NASA missions.

This research was conducted at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with NASA.


EUSAR 2016



Scott Hensley (M’04–SM’10–F’14) received his BS degrees in Mathematics and Physics from the University of California at Irvine and the Ph.D. in Mathematics from Stony Brook University where he specialized in the study of differential geometry. In 1992, Dr. Hensley joined the staff of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory where he is a Senior Research Scientist studying advanced radar techniques for geophysical applications. He has worked on most of the SAR systems developed at JPL over the past two decades including the Magellan and Cassini radars. He was the GeoSAR Project Scientist, a simultaneous X-band and P-band airborne radar interferometer for mapping above and beneath the canopy that is now commercially operated by Earthdata International. He lead the SRTM Interferometric Processor Development Team for a shuttle based interferometric radar used to map the Earths topography between ±60° latitude. He has also worked with the Earth based Goldstone Solar System Radar to generate topographic maps of the lunar surface. He was Principal Investigator and is currently the Project Scientist for the NASA UAVSAR program which is an electronically scanned active array L-band fully polarimetric radar designed for repeat pass applications. 


16:35 - 17:00

Polish Satellite Program

Prof. Marek Banaszkiewicz (Polish Space Agency, Poland)




Polish research and engineering teams  have more than a 40 - year long history of participating in space experiments and missions, like Cassini, Integral, Herschel, Rosetta - to name a few. This has given a fundament for integrating and launching two small scientific satellites, Lem and Heweliusz in 2013 and 2014, respectively. The next step is to build  in the framework  of ESA Incentive Scheme for Poland a technological IAS satellite by a consortium of Polish companies and institutes. In parallel, in the framework of national program two VHR dual-use optical satellites are planned to be built in cooperation with a foreign partner. The feasibility study for this program has been finished and a call for tenders is expected to be issued this year. Independently, a feasibility study for SAR satellite has been launched by POLSA, as a precursor for space radar activities in Poland. Another feasibility study is dedicated to a 30-50 kg UV satellite. The strategy of POLSA is to develop capacity in the Polish space sector to design and manufacture vital satellite subsystems with the aim of acquiring competences allowing Polish entities to compete on the global market, as well as running a number of big national programs, in order to master mission analyzing, integration and testing on the top organizational level.


EUSAR 2016 Special Invited Session



Marek Banaszkiewicz obtained his PhD in theoretical physics (solid state) in 1982 and habilitation in astrophysics in 2000. Full professor since 2011. Was employed in Space Research Centre of the Polish Academy of Sciences (CBK PAN) since 1977, Deputy Director for Science in 2001-2005, Director of CBK PAN in 2006 - 2014. Lecturer on Space Science and Technology in Warsaw University of Technology, Nicolaus Copernicus University and Space Reseach Centre (for PhD students). Spent 8 years abroad on long term contracts and scholarships in Germany, UK, Spain and Sweden. Delegated as the national expert in Joint Research Centre of EU in Ispra (Italy) in 2004-2006. Fields of activity: planetology, space technology, Earth observations. Co-I in ESA missions: Ulisses, Rosetta, Herschel, Bepi-Colombo. President of Polish Astronautical Society 1995-2001. Member of Eurisy Council 2006 - 2009. Member of Scientific Council of ISSI 2000-2003, Polish representative in Copernicus Committee. Appointed President of the Polish Space Agency in 2014.



17:00 - 17:25

From X-SAR to HRWS. Status and Evolution of Spaceborne Radar at Airbus DS Germany

Sebastian Riegger (Airbus DS, Germany)




Airbus DS site in Friedrichshafen has been a hub for the development and construction of satellites and instruments for scientific space exploration, Earth observation and meteorology for the past five decades. Beginning under the name of Dornier the site developed to a part of European enterprise under the name EADS Astrium in order to evolve finally, jointly with many other sites across Europe, to the brand of Airbus DS with over 2200 employees placed at the shore of the Lake of Constance.
One of the main technical focal points of the site are radar systems with a special focus on SAR technology.
In cooperation with different customers and with support of many partners from across the world, radar instruments for many successful missions have been implemented here, e.g. X-SAR, ERS, Envisat, TerraSAR-X, TanDEM-X, Sentinel-1. The portfolio of the radar applications is technically wide oriented with various and flexible applications. It covers different frequency bands beginning with the flagship SAR products in X-band but also delivering solutions e.g. for C- and P-Band. The future demands of the customers and end-users are covered by studies and demonstrator projects pushing the limits of current technology, e.g. Digital Beamforming and Ka-Band based SAR.
This talk gives an overview about current radar related activities at Airbus DS in Friedrichshafen and their projection on the SAR roadmap of the site.


EUSAR 2016 Special Invited Session



Sebastian Riegger obtained his Dr.-Ing. degree in Electrical Engineering (Ph. D. E.E.) from the Technical University of Karlsruhe in 1988. 1989 he joined Dornier Systems, currently Airbus DS. During his extensive industry career he held various positions related to technical, management and programmatic aspects. He played a key role in the Initiation of the TerraSAR Line also heading the definition phase. Since 2004 he is heading the microwave systems department. In this role he was and is responsible for the development of major spaceborne Radar instruments. In addition to TerraSAR-X also TanDEM-X, Sentinel-1 and SARah can be mentioned.
In 2016, additionally to his current function, he became the head of Center of Competence for Radar within Airbus Defence and Space, a division-wide platform for coordination of spaceborne radar activities.



17:20 - 17:50

PAZ and TerraSAR-X constellation, innovation through international cooperation

Fernando Cerezo (Hisdesat, Spain)




Fernando Cerezo(1), Alex Kaptein(2),Miguel Angel Garcia Primo(1),Katja Bach (2), Victoriano Moreno(1), Juan Ignacio Cicuendez(1),
(1) HISDESAT Servicios Estrategicos
(2) AIRBUS Defense & Space (GeoServices)

The European EO market is growing since more than a decade but slower than expected, its fragmentation in national programs for covering individual needs is affecting the expected development. In Europe, large effort were made to build a common space infrastructure but the actual response from users have not been as positive as expected, national users still require to create their own program. TerraSAR-X/PAZ Constellation is the first international collaboration to bring together two national X-band SAR satellites in an effort to improve the market response offering a more effective reply to the market needs in terms of revisit and acquisition capabilities, enhance service levels and application opportunities for both public and commercial customers.
Here we present the innovative approach of this new type of international collaboration, the technical feasibility of the constellation mission, the implementation challenges of such collaboration (contractual framework, responsibilities distribution, organization aspects) will be described.
Operating these two twin satellites in a constellation will enhance not only the performance at data dissemination level by better revisit time and increased data acquisition capabilities but also at service levels thanks to obtain the same basic products in both missions for complex services like INMINT, DINSAR, or a shorter response, specially for NRT market, so a wide range of time-critical and data-intensive applications will benefit from the constellation.
Constellation offers a unique access solution for distributing ordering and dissemination such as any customer either public or private has access to the complete constellation obtaining the results of their feasibility analysis and selecting the scenes that better solve their needs.

Additionally the concept implies to reduce the risks in each national mission in base to back-stopping collaboration to serve each other during technical or evolution gaps resuming the Constellation collaboration when the failure is solved or when the follow up mission is operational.


EUSAR 2016 Special Invited Session



Fernando started his career in Technical Aerospace National Institute (INTA) in 1989 as Electronic Subsystem Engineer, where he reached a level of Satellite System Engineer for MINISAT 01 in 1997.He was Lead Engineer during MINISAT 01 operational life. He served also as a consultant for ESA programs SMART 01 and LISA in the very initial stages. Furthermore, he was responsible for the mission and platform definition for Earth Observation satellites designed for Spanish user’s community (ISTHAR and CESAR, both with optical payloads and both led by INTA).
In 2001 he moved to HISDESAT Servicios Estrategicos as System Engineer for the communication satellites SPAINSAT and XTAR launched in 2006 and 2005, respectively. Since 2008 he is the Head of New Programs Department in HISDESAT and also the Program Manager of PAZ Program - SAR based satellite built by AIRBUS D&S (Spain). He takes the responsibility of the HISDESAT team for definition of TerraSAR/PAZ constellation with a target of sharing the commercialization of the national programs (collaboration between HISDESAT and AIRBUS D&S Geo Services). One of his additional tasks in the company is also development of SAR applications in view of preparation of PAZ operational life, e.g. DINSAR or VDS.


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