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Open AccessReview

Near-Space Microwave Radar Remote Sensing: Potentials and Challenge Analysis

School of Communication and Information Engineering, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, 611731 Chengdu, China
The Institute of Plateau Meteorology (IPM), China Meteorological Administration (CMA), China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2010, 2(3), 717-739;
Received: 16 November 2009 / Revised: 11 January 2010 / Accepted: 26 January 2010 / Published: 9 March 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microwave Remote Sensing)
PDF [465 KB, uploaded 19 June 2014]


Near-space, defined as the region between 20 km and 100 km, offers many new capabilities that are not accessible to low earth orbit (LEO) satellites and airplanes, because it is above storm and not constrained by either the orbital mechanics of satellites or the high fuel consumption of airplanes. By placing radar transmitter/receiver in near-space platforms, many functions that are currently performed with satellites or airplanes could be performed in a cheaper way. Inspired by these advantages, this paper introduces several near-space vehicle-based radar configurations, such as near-space passive bistatic radar and high-resolution wide-swath (HRWS) synthetic aperture radar (SAR). Their potential applications, technical challenges and possible solutions are investigated. It is shown that near-space is a satisfactory solution to some specific remote sensing applications. Firstly, near-space passive bistatic radar using opportunistic illuminators offers a solution to persistent regional remote sensing, which is particularly interest for protecting homeland security or monitoring regional environment. Secondly, near-space provides an optimal solution to relative HRWS SAR imaging. Moreover, as motion compensation is a common technical challenge for the described radars, an active transponder-based motion compensation is also described. View Full-Text
Keywords: near-space; microwave radar; remote sensing; passive radar; synthetic aperture radar; bistatic radar; motion compensation near-space; microwave radar; remote sensing; passive radar; synthetic aperture radar; bistatic radar; motion compensation

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Wang, W.-Q.; Cai, J.; Peng, Q. Near-Space Microwave Radar Remote Sensing: Potentials and Challenge Analysis. Remote Sens. 2010, 2, 717-739.

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