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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/C014693/1
Title: Innovative Solutions to Ionospheric Distortion in Space Based Radars and other Radar Systems
Principal Investigator: Cannon, Professor PS
Other Investigators:
Watson, Dr RJ Mitchell, Professor C
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Electronic and Electrical Engineering
Organisation: University of Bath
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 01 September 2005 Ends: 31 January 2009 Value (£): 348,882
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
RF & Microwave Technology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Space-based radars (SBRs) are an important and exciting new earth observation resource. Planned and operational SBRs operate over a wide frequency range from ~800 MHz to 10 GHz. This includes the frequency range used for terrestrial and satellite TV broadcasts. Simple radars measure the distance to a target but by looking at the Doppler shift of the signal after it has bounced off a moving target it is also possible to determine the target speed. Space based radars are always limited in power and consequently many measurements often need to be made of the same target area. The information is then summed. To do this it is necessary to maintain signal coherence - that is the multiple measurements must add together and not average to zero. Even more sophisticated radars are able to produce images, similar to those produced by a camera, but at lower resolution. As the radar signals pass down from the satellite to the ground and back again they pass through the atmosphere. One region of the atmosphere, which is located around 100 to 350 km, is known as the ionosphere (because it is lightly ionised). This region affects radio signals in many ways.Sometimes there are small variations in the ionospheric density within the radar beam and our calculations have demonstrated that the signal is then distorted. One obvious effect is degradation in the radar image contrast and we have a good example of this from the SEASAT satellite. The loss in contrast is rather like looking at an old TV set. In this project we are seeking ways to both understand and correct for these ionospheric distortion effects. We have two approaches to doing this. Firstly, we aim to develop an ionospheric irregularity forecasting technique that will enable radar operators to plan radar operations and maybe bring other observation techniques on line if the radar has been blinded by the ionosphere. Secondly, we aim to develop models of the distortion. We believe that this will then allow the design of better radars and perhaps new radars could intelligently adapt to overcome the distortion. A particularly exciting part of this research is that we will be developing new and sophisticated instrumentation to make measurements from Ascension Island in the southern Atlantic using signals from a new US satellite (C/NOFS) due to be launched in April 2005.
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Organisation Website: http://www.bath.ac.uk