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Autonetics Strategic Systems Division Defense Electronics Rockwell International Corporation P.O. Box 4192, Anaheim, CA 92803-4192
Abstract-A light weight (16.1 kg), low power (35-watt) small satellite radar altimeter suitable for launch on a Pegasus launch vehicle is described. The altimeter is capable of measuring ocean surface height with a precision of 3.5 cm from an altitude of 800 km. Risk reduction is achieved by the use of non-developmental items and devices demonstrated under I U D . This radar altimeter will permit 8CientifiC and military ocean topography data to be collected well into the 2lst century. JNTRODUCTION SATELLITE RADAR ALTIMETER REQUIREMENTS
Performance specifications based on the proven GEOSAT-1 radar altimeter are shown in Table 2. Table 2. Radar Altimeter Performance Specifications cm (10) @ 2m significant wave height (SWH) 10 Hz
A satellite radar altimeter measures the distance between itself and the surface of the ocean directly below with a precision of a few centimeters. Since the satellite's orbit can be independently ascertained, the shape of the ocean surface can be precisely determined along a line under the satellite. The resulting shape can be compared to the ocean's long-term geopotential surface (geoid) and ocean mesoscale features identified. These features have scientific and military importance.'** Radar altimeters were carried aboard SKYLAB, SEASAT, GEOSAT-I, ERS-1 and TOPEX satellites. The ability to provide precision altimeter data in the future depends on the development of a light weight radar altimeter compatible with a small satellite bus and a relatively inexpensive launch vehicle such as the air-launched Pegasus.3 This paper describes system design of a radar altimeter satisfying these requirements and IR&D performed by Rockwell to reduce risk associated with the concept.
Measurement rate Waveform Modulation Bandwidth Duration PRF Frequency
320 M H z
1 0 2 0 Hz
Time-to-track i 5 sec wave heiaht CSWKL I 15 cm Precision Accuracy 10.1 SWH or 0 . 5 m whichever is larger Surface radar cross s e c t u n L B X L 1 dB Accuracy required for RCS Calibration mode and height bias Detailed satellte bus design performed by Rockwell's Space Systems Division indicated a maximum allowable weight and average power for the altimeter of 17-kg and 35-watts, respectively, including redundancy. This allocation was based on an overall satellite weight of 272 kg and a 240-watt solar panel. The resulting satellite can be placed in an 800-km circular orbit by a Pegasus launch vehicle.
Space-based radar altimetry began with Skylab
in 1973 followed by others shown in Table l . 4 , 5
Early missions were concerned with mapping the earth's geopotential field while more recent missions focused on measurement of ocean topographical features. GEOSAT-1 is a representative example of a radar altimeter satellite. GEOSAT-1 was a 1 4 5 0 pound, completely redundant satellite with a 2 0 7 pound, 165-watt radar altimeter developed by the Johns Ho~!:;ns University Applied Physics Laboratory and launched on an Atlas-E.
Table 1. TOPEX
Radar Altimeter Satellites
The simulation included the interactions shown in Figure 2. Radar altimeter subsystem output signal parameters are shown in Table 3 . The integrated
5 Mbps Track Used Derived From GEOSAT Data Tonga Trench I 1. Figure 1. After raw height (and raw height rate) have been calculated on board. The accuracy (oh)with which the ocean's surface can be measured can be related to the signal-to-noise (SNR) in a range cell by. and Tint = 1 sec.K. if SNR = 18 dB. and the track gate is optimally formed based on the ocean surface's significant wave height (SWH). including height tracking. Performance w a s Obtained by Simulation lrsing Realistic Sea Surface Data functions.000 Time (sec) 1. Note that Equaticn 2 indicates that as long as SNR remains above 12 dB. PRF = 1020. 0 600 I 1 I 800 1.25 MHz 1. N measurements are averaged.200 MTD 9201 16-2821 where. The ocean return waveform simulation included the analytic convolution of (1) the average flat sea-surface impulse response. the resulting range resolution is 47 cm. The Integrated Electronic Unit ( I E U J Controls the Altimeter 7 I- . accuracy is limited primarily by ocean surface scattering statistics. Automatic gain control (AGC) output was used to maintain a constant pulse level to avoid height tracking errors which are a function of signal level. AGC. Height estimates were input to the filter every 49 ms (i. (2) a Gaussian height probability density of ocean-surface specular points.e. A more detailed simulation of the height tracking process was created and incorporated actual GEOSAT-1 algorithms.6 For example. then oh = 2.a where. voltages proportional to SWH ( V s m ) and satellite attitude (Vatt) derived from the received signal were also computed from the simulated digitized waveform. The track algorithm was the same U-P tracker used on GEOSAT-1. PRI. a IEU in TT&C Subsysterr 7 1 a . Altimeter output signal parameters 60 =MaximumVelociW= 26 Wsec Maximum Acceleration = I 0. each filter input consists of 50 raw measurements averaged together).84 m/sec2 Number of I&Q samples I&Q sample rate Antialiasing filter Range span extent Sample size Sample rate IEU bus rate 1.28 M H z 8-bits 1020 Hz 2. and (3) a Gaussian system point-target response. Kw = 0. Selective Attenuation.p Tracker for Height AGC Tracker Loop Acquisition Processing and Control Calibration Processing and Control Combine Two 50-Pulse Averages 10.. Other modeled effects were a Gaussian antenna gain pattern and spherical earth corrections. A digital signal processor in the IEU performs a Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) of the time-domain altimeter output to transform the received return into amplitude versus range bins.13 cm.Table 3 . Common Antenna For B = 320 MHz. c Bc = 3 = x 108 m/s chirp bandwidth.713 (corresponding to a SWH of 2 m).2 Hz Telemetry Telemettv Data Ground Segment SWH and RCS Estimation FFT and Fine Height b User Segment MTD 920204-3034 Figure 2. I T Radar Altimeter Subsystem Pretrigger (Blanking) Pulse I 128 Complex Samples I I Coarse Height and Rate. KW KG N PRF Tint = slope of ocean return = track gate parameter = PRF x Tint = pulse repetition frequency = track filter integration time. the height measurement is corrected during ground processing using the SWH and satellite attitude parameters. Mode t Calibration '- The derivation of Equation 2 assumes ocean scattering is Rayleigh. o h = 1+2 I SNR 2K. = 1 .400 The altimeter processes the received signal using a stretch technique where range resolution is given by the expression.
Altimeter elements and built-in redundancy are illustrated in Figure 6 . Radar range equation parameters used to achieve a SNR 2 1 8 dB (with 3 dB margin) are shown in Table 4 . 4 ps.Yn13 W-1 PRF (Hz): p 1.62 2.Simulated ground corrections are based on bicubic polynomials in Vswh and Vatt similar to those used for TOPEX.38~10-~' 198. PRF and Attitude Control Accuracy were Selected to Provide Robust Range Precision Measurements The simulation also predicted SWH estimation The accuracy with the results shown in Figure 4 .4 0. 7 5 degrees and SWH of 2 m will result in a range precision of 2 . The weight and power consumption of the altimeter are also shown in the insert contained in Figure 6 .07 n 10 mw / K / Hz 290K 2 . SNR.51 200. 320 M H z wideband 8 .3E loss (L*tt) 2 .06 9. RADAR ALTIMETER IMPLEMENTATION SWH (m) MTD 020121-2930 Figure 4.G.0 63.57 800 km 1 dB Selected Requirements Yield 220% Margin at SWH = 2 m PRF Requirement: 1.50713.75 deg Altitude (H) Atmospheric loss (Latm) Attitude 0 db 0 2.) Wavelength (1) Reflectivity ( 0 0 ) Surface area (A) 4rr Value 7 W -dEm 38. Table 4.9dB 40.82 3 0 7 . 2 2 cm 9dB 6 3 .) Processing loss (Lp) 1 dB Subtotal (dBm) Received power (dBm) Noise power (N) Boltzmann's constant (k) Reference temperature ( To) Noise figure (F) Processing bandwidth ( B . Likewise. 3 3 dB 9 .3 2 . The upper curve shows that a SNR = 1 8 dB and a PRF of 1 0 2 0 Hz result in a range precision of 2 .'ies in the performance curve are the result of ihanging track gate sizes as a function of SWH. Altimeter Parameters were Selected to Provide a 21 dB SNR based on GEOSAT-1 Ocean Ref1 ec tivi ty Data s = P. 8 cm.5 0.Lp A = IcHc/B c = 3x108m/s B = 3 2 0 MHZ Parameter teceived Power (S) Peak RF power (P.3: 39.) Antenna gain (G.6( 24. 7 2 dBsm 12. ) Subtotal Noise power (dBm) Signal-to-noise ratio (dB) EW. A layout of the altimeter mounted on the forward bulkhead of the EPS.89 64. discontini7.2 I 0. The first was a novel approach8 where the 1 0 2 .0 191. 4 cm.0 0.9 80.020 Hz SNR Requirement: 2 18 dB Off-Nadir Angle Requirement: s 0.8 1 MTD 920116-2818 0. and where necessary.4: 21. the lower curve shows that a satellite attitude off-nadir angle of 0 .PO1-3 satellite is shown in Figure 5 . demonstration of critical components under IR&D to reduce risk.6 Off-Nadir Angle (deg) Figure 3. 1 1 dB Receiver loss (L. li 115. SWH Measurement is Accurate Over 0 to 20 m SWH The light weight radar altimeter intentionally uses a majority of nondevelopmental items to minimize cost.9E 236.9: 136.72 32.) Transmitter losses (L.6 33.13 1. 7 7 KHz 0 5 10 SNR (dB) 15 ' 20 smcmcabon U I I I I margin 8 E lo r = Performance Margin 11 0 I 0. The coefficients are found from linear least squares based on data after a-P tracker and AGC loop stabilization. 5 cm. Figure 3 shows predicted range precision versus SNR with PRF as a parameter and range precision versus satellite off-nadir angle with SWH as a parameter.11 1. considerably better than the required 3 . Two approaches for LFM chirp generation were examined as part of the IR&D effort.~~L~G~A (4rr)3H4LatmLattL.
8 19.3 5.13 35 MTD 920121-2914 Figure 6.2 Source ___~ ~ Heritage ERS-1.0 14. IR&D NROSS TransmiVReceive Switch (1) +Port Waveguide Switch (2) Low-Noise Amplifier (2) Altiineter Electronics (A and B) Solid-State Power Amplifier (2) ElectromagneticSciences Transco 0.0 ElectromagneticSciences Rockwell ElectromagneticSciences Commercial Supplier - Waveguide Total 0. TOPEX ERS-1 Mars Observer MTAS.Altimeter -Amplifiers Ambient Temperature Load Radiometer Sky Horn A MTD 920120-2918 ~ Figure 5. Use of Nondevelopmental Items and Components Demonstrated Under IR&D were Emphasized .5 1.6 0.7 16.73 7.3 0. The Altimeter Consists of Two Redundant Sides ( A & B ) Sharing a Common Transmi t /Recei ve Swi tch Solid-state Power Amplifier Peak RF Power 7to9W 4-POrt Waveguide Electronics Electronics Low-Noise Amplifier I bTo IEU I I 1 Altimeter b l I I r Electronics (Side 6) I I I Solid-state Power Amplifier J - Component Weight (kg) DC Power (W) 1. RIMS.
PS50713POl-5 HSF P e r f o r m a n c e was D e m o n s t r a t e d Under IR&D -r- 10 - . x t 120 U a ) 8 160 I l l 3 80 a 40 * 0 12*8 PS Subpulse Duration 102. The baseband pulse consisted of a pulse with a starting frequency of -20 M H z varying linearly to +20 MHz. The baseband pulse I&Q channels were combined in a single sideband mixer to form a real signal at 125 MHz. HSF was Used to S y n t h e s i z e the Wideband LFM P u l s e P r o v e n on GEOSAT-1 w i t h E i g h t C o n t i n g u o u s LFM S u b p u l s e s w i t h D i f f e r e n t C e n t e r Frequencies Figure 8. The STEL C-NCO is the small retangular device in the upper left-hand portion of Figure 11. This implementation is based on a Stanford Telecommunications (STEL) Chirp-Numerically Controlled Oscillator (C-NCO) specifically designed for chirp waveform generation. A block diagram of the IR&D hardware is shown in Figure 10 along with the baseband I&Q outputs. The real signal was then limited and frequency multiplied by a factor of eight to achieve the full 320 MHz bandwidth.linear FM pulse was synthesized from eight linear FM subpulses 12.4 ps long. Two surface acoustic wave (SAW) devices operating in “ping-pong”mode were used generate the contignuous subpulses. F i g re 7. A second approach using direct digital synthesis (DDS) technology similar to that used for the GEOSAT- 320 280 240 40-MHz LFM Subpulse Chirp 1 chirp generator was also examined under IR&D.768 2 200 E. HSF T e c h n o l o g y G e n e r a t e s the Wideband Pulse from Contiguous Linear F M Subpulses.8 ps long each with a bandwidth of 40 MHz. HSF breadboard hardware is shown in Figure 8 and a spectrum analyzer output shown in Figure 9.4 ps Pulse Duration-4 I MTD 920204-3030 I F i g u r e 9 . the wideband chirp waveform was synthesized from a single baseband linear FM pulse 102. This technique was called the Hybrid Stepped Frequency (HSF) technique. In this case. Time-Bandwidth Product I 32. The desired frequency versus time characteristic is shown in Figure 7.
.S. 10. 1992." AIAA Space Programs & Technology Conferences.4 ps) Coarse Acquisition Pul125 MHz-312." The Johns Hopkins-Applied Physics Laboratory. Vol." A I M Space Programs & Technology Conferences.8 -- AD9721 Digital Commanc Logic Buffer To Modulator I SSF-IE I -b Upconverter/ Multiplier Fine Track Pulse t 80 MHz From Reference FrequencyGsnerator ~~ ~~~~ 125 MHz From Reference Frequency Generator 125 MHz . 1992 Alfred R. "SEASAT-A Radar Altimeter Design Description.." Johns Hopkins APL Technical Digest.20 MHz (8192 4882. the DDS approach was felt to be more mature and of lower risk than the HSF technique and was selected as baseline. C3. LFM Pulse Generation Using Modern DDS Technology was also Demonstrated EPS 50713 POL6 Charles C. Conferences.4 ps) Figure 10. 1 Figure 11.8 Hz Steps) (in 102. 4 . Kilgus. However. MacArthur.L. J. March 24-27. March 24-27. et. Finkelstein. 1989).5 KHZ (128 4882. March 24-21. 'U. No. 4.5 ns) Pulse Duration Coarse Acquisition Input ps A-Phase Word Every 0.1 kg and consumes 35-watts Dc power. 95. . at. The altimeter (excluding signal processing) weighs only 16. March 15. et.8 Hz Steps) (in 102. Navy " A I M Space Programs & Technology GEOSAT Follow-on. G. et. No. As a result of this IR&D work. The STEL-1180 C-NCO was the Key Element of the DDS Demonstration Conclusion The radar altimeter described in this paper will enable space-based altimetry data to be collected well into the 21st century where high performance must be achieved at modest cost. Document SIK-5232. al. al. 6. It consists of off-the-shelf components and technology demonstrated under IR&D and will result in little development risk. "NASA Radar Al. No." Proceedings of the I E E E .. it was also recognized that HSF technology offers a path to chirp waveforms of arbitrar tly large bandwidths and enhanced range resolution. C. "Ocean Monitoring by Satellite Radar Altimeter. al. 3. Hayne. 1992. November 1978. References 1. al. J. Zieger. In addition. USN. 1990. 5. 2. Vol. 79. 6. Kilgus. Vol. Quinn. a significant degree of jamming immunity can be realized with HSF since subpulse center frequencies can be generated in random order without affecting the stretch process." Journal of Geophysical Research. CDR Paul F.. et. MacArthur.. "Corrections for the Effects of Significant Wave Height and Attitude on GEOSAT Radar Altimeter Measurements. John L. et. "Monitoring the Ocean with Navy Radar altimeter Lightsats.timet for the TOPEX/Poseidon Project. "Evolution of the Satellite Radar Altimeter.S. June 1991.Fine Track Inputs Initial A-Phase word Chirp Rate (AutomaticallyUpdated Every 12.
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