Space-borne satellite radar is an important technology to measure properties of the Earth surface. However, existing radar satellites are relatively large, heavy and expensive. Current satellite radar missions employ either only a single satellite platform or a small constellation of two satellites. For these missions the revisit period, i.e. the time between satellite passes over one target region, is often ten days or more. However, it is desirable to observe targets much more frequently. Rapid information can be obtained by using large numbers of satellites that allow one particular region to be overpassed more frequently than with a single satellite. Inexpensive nano-satellites employing commercial-off-the-shelf components are the ideal platform for these constellations.
The small physical size of nano-satellites places significant constraints on the design of radar systems. The miniaturization of SAR systems to fit on a CubeSat requires new technological breakthroughs that go beyond state-of-the-art.
The aim of this PhD project is to develop a novel miniaturised radar front-end suitable for a nano-satellite, particularly focusing on approaches to reduce the number of RF beam-forming chains required and understanding the engineering trade-offs.
Applicants must have a background in electrical/electronics engineering and ideally experience with designing RF circuits.
A tax-free stipend of $NZD 28,200 per year is available for 3 years.