JAXA, QPS Research Institute commences on-orbit imaging processing of SAR data

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and QPS Research Institute Co., Ltd. have jointly developed an imaging Synthetic Aperture Radar SAR data in orbit with the “Upper Imaging Device” .

In 2020, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Alwet Technology Co., Ltd. have jointly developed an on-orbit imaging device for satellite-borne synthetic aperture radar SAR data.

In this device, the data processing that was conventionally performed by a terrestrial computer is rewritten with an algorithm suitable for a high-speed FPGA (field programmable gate array) and converted into firmware, making it the world’s first satellite-mounted device. realized as As a result, SAR observation data can be processed in quasi-real-time onboard the satellite in orbit, making it possible to significantly reduce the amount of downlink from the satellite. Expected.

This device has been realized as a satellite-mounted device by rewriting the data processing that was conventionally performed by a computer on the ground into an algorithm suitable for FPGA capable of high-speed processing and converting it into firmware.
JAXA and QPS Research Institute will install this device on “Amateru-III” launched on June 13, 2023, and are conducting joint research related to on-orbit technical demonstrations.

As part of the initial check after the orbit insertion of “Amateru-III”, the SAR data stored in the satellite in advance was imaged on orbit using this device. As a result, we succeeded in imaging at a high speed (approximately 23 seconds). Through further compression processing, the amount of data transmitted to the ground can be compressed to less than 1/1000 (0.0845%) of the raw data transmission, greatly shortening the time required to obtain SAR images on the ground. I made it.

This technology demonstration is expected  to increase the responsiveness from the user’s request to the provision of SAR images . We can expect further progress toward realization, the creation of new value, the possibility of solving social issues, and the development of new businesses.
From now on, JAXA and QPS Research Institute will jointly proceed with the detailed analysis of the results of the on-orbit demonstration, and continue the on-orbit imaging processing of the SAR data acquired by “Amateru-III”.

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