Historically, radar systems have tended to be either large, complex, power-hungry, purpose-built systems, or extremely simple systems of limited capability. More recently, miniaturization of high-performance programmable integrated circuit technologies as embodied in field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), as well as rapid advances in high-speed data conversion technologies at a gigasample per second and beyond, have enabled the implementation of direct-conversion radio frequency (RF) systems, including radar, that operate almost completely in the digital domain. In addition, solid-state high-power RF device technologies have improved in efficiency and speed to the point where highly efficient pulsed transmit sources are possible. As these device technologies have matured, their application in space environments has accelerated to the point where extremely flexible programmable radar systems can be implemented in a very small size, weight, and power footprint. Trident Systems has developed a powerful radar architecture called RAPTOR, validating it through flight testing on a number of Department of Defense programs. In Phase I of this effort, Trident Systems developed and validated a design concept for a flexible, programmable space-qualifiable digital radar transceiver (SQDRT) based on RAPTOR. This was accomplished through a comprehensive development process consisting of mission and requirements analysis, component trade studies, design analysis and simulation, and interface & form factor trade studies. The objective of the Phase II effort is to successfully produce a functioning form-factor prototype of the SQDRT, through a comprehensive program of system modeling and simulation, detailed digital & RF electronic design, FPGA firmware development, mechanical design, fabrication, integration, and testing, culminating in a prototype demonstration. By basing the solution on proven RAPTOR technology, the system will rapidly achieve a high TRL.More »
The proposed digital radar transceiver will support a range of NASA missions, including synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imaging, moving object detection and tracking in surface and volume search applications, object and surface characterization and identification, remote sensing, sounding, and navigation. Trident's Reconfigurable Adaptive Programmable Tactical Open Radar (RAPTOR) architecture is extremely scalable, configurable, and programmable, enabling support for a wide range of radar modes, on a pulse-to-pulse, or CPI-to-CPI (coherent processing interval) basis, as well as flexibility in system topology, supporting bistatic-multistatic and MIMO configurations. Trident's staff has extensive background in supporting NASA missions and our strategy for this project is to design and develop a long-term, miniaturized common building block, fully reprogrammable on-board processor board suitable for potential technology insertion into NASA's planned Earth science missions including DESDynI, GRACE FO, SWOT, and PACE, as well as supporting pre-formulation studies for the OCO-3 instrument, CLARREO, ASCENDS, ACE, GEO-CAPE, HypIRI, as well as the Venture class science technology demonstration projects. The results of this project will also support technology insertion in NASA Planetary science missions currently under formulation including the New Frontiers OSIRIS-Rex.
The proposed digital radar transceiver has significant application for defense and other government applications, where its small size, weight, and power footprint make it applicable to rapid-response small satellite missions for intelligence collection and remote sensing. Its FPGA-based digital programmability also offers flexibility for implementation of capabilities beyond simple radar, including software defined radio, on a common set of hardware.
|Organizations Performing Work
|Trident Systems, Inc.
Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB)
|Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)