18E.3 Results of First Flight Tests of an Operational Airborne Scanning Radar Altimeter

Friday, 2 May 2008: 11:30 AM
Palms E (Wyndham Orlando Resort)
Ivan PopStefanija, ProSensing, Amherst, MA; and E. J. Walsh and P. G. Black

ProSensing Inc., with funding from the NOAA SBIR program, has developed an operational Scanning Radar Altimeter (SRA) intended for airborne measurement of directional ocean wave spectra. The new SRA incorporates a novel solid-state digital beamforming radar design, to replace the aging prototype SRA system operated by NOAA for the past decade. The system employs a 20 W solid-state transmitter and linear FM pulse compression with a stretch processor to achieve compression gain of up to 38 dB. The high compression gain yields an effective peak power of up to 120 kW, allowing operation to altitudes up to 6 km. Furthermore, the design frequency of 16 GHz permits the system to operate through heavy hurricane rainfall, which was not possible with the original 35 GHz system.

Ground based testing in October, 2007 demostrated basic system functionality. In this presentation we will present data from the first test flights of the SRA system on the NOAA WP-3D aircrafts scheduled for December 2007 and January 2008. A PC based real-time processor is planned for development in 2008 to be tested in next hurricane season. This development will result in a turnkey system for real-time measurement and reporting of ocean wave spectra.

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