Op-ed | Is Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) only a matter of resolution?

SAR JOURNAL l April 12, 2021

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[Excerpt] Over the past 5 years, disruptive constellation projects have emerged and completely changed the way SAR is being used, promoting access to new end-user communities, and opening up new applications. “Two key historical barriers have been overcome for SAR Imaging to break into the mainstream commercial market: the cost of data and processing complexity” said Alexis Conte, Editor of the Earth Observation Data and Services Market research report and Senior Consultant at Euroconsult.

However, the main challenge is to find the sweet spot between resolution and other parameters. This article dives into the current development strategy of constellation projects and explores what they are really designed for.

Euroconsult identified more than 10 SAR companies that have announced plans to develop commercial constellations over the next five years. A common thread is that all these projects are focusing on the X-band domain thus paving the way for Very-High-Resolution applications at the expense of other capabilities such as a wider surface penetration capability (e.g., C-band or L-band). The main challenge is the same as for optical multispectral constellations – to build cost-effective systems that can provide high-revisit data for building change detection analytics.