A system of software partly automates planning of a flight of the Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) — a polarimetric synthetic-aperture radar system aboard an unpiloted or minimally piloted airplane. The software constructs a flight plan that specifies not only the intended flight path but also the setup of the radar system at each point along the path.

A user first specifies the desired image swath by specifying certain geographic and geometric features of the swath or the desired flight path. Using an input digital elevation map (DEM), the software predicts the image swath and sets such variables as a data window position (DWP). A raster backscatter classification file co-registered with the input DEM can be used to estimate radar attenuation settings. The software determines whether such radar constraints as those pertaining to duty cycles and data rates are obeyed, and determines when radar settings should be modified (for example, a DWP changed, or gain changed in response to a change in expected backscatter). The software constructs a Web page to facilitate transfer of radar control files and to provide access to Keyhole Markup Language files, which can be used to display the flight path and associated information.

This program was written by Joanne G. Shimada, Anhua J. Chu, Elaine Chapin, Scott Hensley, and Bruce D. Chapman of Caltech for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

This software is available for commercial licensing. Please contact Karina Edmonds of the California Institute of Technology at (626) 395-2322. Refer to NPO-45877.

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the November, 2008 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

Read more articles from this issue here.

Read more articles from the archives here.