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EPSRC Reference: EP/Y022092/1
Title: Multi-dimensional quantum-enabled sub-THz Space-Borne ISAR sensing for space domain awareness and critical infrastructure monitoring - SBISAR
Principal Investigator: Gashinova, Professor M
Other Investigators:
Cherniakov, Professor M Alconcel, Dr L Antoniou, Dr M
Styles, Professor IB Martorella, Professor M
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
CNIT Deimos Space Uk Ltd Fraunhofer Institut (Multiple, Grouped)
German Aerospace Center (DLR) In-Space Missions Ltd QinetiQ
Quantum Technology Hub
Department: Electronic, Electrical and Computer Eng
Organisation: University of Birmingham
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 May 2024 Ends: 31 October 2027 Value (£): 1,620,083
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Artificial Intelligence Digital Signal Processing
Image & Vision Computing RF & Microwave Technology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Communications
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
25 Sep 2023 EPSRC ICT Prioritisation Panel Sept 2023 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
We live in increasingly connected world, reliant on ubiquitous digital infrastructure of increasing reach and complexity, and integration of terrestrial and space communication and sensing networks to gather, share and exchange information in a persistent way without natural barriers has already started. Higher levels of inter-reliability of the services require fast and actionable automatic assessment of physical infrastructure to detect potential anomalies. The explosive growth of Earth-orbiting satellite populations in protected LEO and GEO regions exacerbates the risk of disruption from either impact with space objects or debris, or hostile activity intended to re-purpose the satellite or its whole network using spawned objects.

This research lays the foundation for a new capability for multi-perspective monitoring of dynamic environments, using quantum enabled space-borne inverse synthetic aperture radar (ISAR) imagery. It will use sub-THz scattering from multi-scale manmade objects and clusters of debris to generate a library of scattering characteristics of satellite descriptors and deployables, and develop robust deep-learning classification and recognition approaches for anomaly detection and characterization. The technology will make the most of the advantages for in-orbit monitoring from space, including:

- The elimination of atmospheric absorption and attenuation, and thus the need for high power transmission to compensate for large propagation losses over large distances, inherent to ground based systems.

- The shorter operational ranges and the absence of atmospheric adverse phenomena allow use of high frequencies (above 100 GHz) able to deliver unprecedented resolution of radar imagery with a compact sensor.

- The diversity of accessible vantage points provided by 3D observation trajectories from space. This delivers currently missing object observation from viewing aspects not available from the ground, as well as reconstruction of multi-temporal or multi-perspective 2D and 3D imagery.

The data from these multi-dimensional observations will enable end-to-end segmentation and classification, in particular, anomalies in appearance or behaviour.

The project's ambitious goal is to undertake multi-disciplinary fundamental and applied studies to enable innovative sensing for space infrastructure monitoring by use of space-based multi-dimensional Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar (ISAR) operating in the sub-terahertz region (Sub-THz). Such technology will be able to deliver co-operative Space Domain Awareness (CoSDA) based on quantum-enabled distributed space-borne radar, which can be a game changer for monitoring and protection of high value assets. The system will be able to track potential hazards, image and characterize the space residents at ranges and from aspects unavailable from Earth, and with a resolution unachievable from Earth, to deliver additional dimensionality of data to existing Space Situational Awareness (SSA) electro-optical sensors and ground-based radar (GBR).

The technology builds a strong foundation for ensuring the future safety and security of highly interconnected autonomous systems.

Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.bham.ac.uk