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Instrument Incubator

Wide-swath Shared Aperture Cloud Radar (WiSCR)

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

The Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) and Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems (NGES) seek to advance key enabling technologies for next generation multi-frequency space-borne radar for cloud and precipitation measurements. The Earth Science Decadal Survey (DS) Aerosol, Cloud and Ecosystems (ACE) mission calls for a dual-frequency cloud radar (W band 94 GHz and Ka-band 35 GHz) for geospatial measurements of cloud microphysical properties. Meanwhile, a tri-frequency spaceborne radar concept (W band 94 GHz, Ka-band 35 GHz, and Ku-band 14 GHz) is being considered by the cloud and precipitation science communities. We envision a Wide-swath Shared Aperture Cloud Radar (WiSCR) that will provide unprecedented, simultaneous multi-frequency measurements to enhance understanding of the effects of clouds and precipitation and their interaction on Earth climate change. ESTO's Instrument Incubator Program (IIP-2010), enabled our investigation team to success-fully demonstrate the technical feasibility of a shared, large aperture antenna to achieve wide swath imaging at Ka-band and nadir profiling at W-band. Our approach employs a parabolic cy-lindrical reflector with a Ka-band Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) line feed to achieve a swath exceeding 120 km. A low-loss reflectarray surface is applied to the primary re-flector to provide a focused W-band beam. We propose to advance these technologies to address the emerging needs for spaceborne atmospheric radar. We will advance the technology readiness of WiSCR through the following activities: (1) de-sign/develop the Ka band AESA module including the GaN power amplifier MMIC, the GaAs multi-function MMIC, the GaAs low noise amplifier MMIC, the Power Controller/Gate Regula-tor ASIC, and the transmit/receive circulator; (2) develop through airborne demonstration a Mul-ti-channel Arbitrary Waveform Generator (MAGW), a Multi-channel Frequency Conversion Module (MFCM) and a novel Frequency Diversity Pulse Pair (FDPP) technique; (3) investigate architectures that extend our dual-band aperture technologies to provide tri-frequency shared ap-erture capability.

Develop and mature WiSCR technologies to enable concurrent multi-frequency measurements of clouds and precipitation - Ka-band Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) T/R module package with integral circulator - Frequency Diversity Pulse Pair (FDPP) algorithm to enable spaceborne Doppler measurements of weather targets - Multi-channel Arbitrary Waveform Generator (MAWG) and Multi-Channel Frequency Conversion Modules (MFCM) to enable a versatile waveform that is essential for FDPP and reduce size, weight, power and cost of multi-frequency radar hardware Develop concept design for tri-frequency radar (Ku/Ka/W Band) to assess potential addition of GPM mission capabilities

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