Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery requires image reproduction through successive signal processing of received data before browsing images and extracting information. The received signal data records of the ALOS-2/PALSAR-2 are stored in the onboard mission data storage and transmitted to the ground. In order to compensate the storage usage and the capacity of transmission data through the mission date communication networks, the operation duty of the PALSAR-2 is limited. This balance strongly relies on the network availability. The observation operations of the present spaceborne SAR systems are rigorously planned by simulating the mission data balance, given conflicting user demands. This problem should be solved such that we do not have to compromise the operations and the potential of the next-generation spaceborne SAR systems. One of the solutions is to compress the SAR data through onboard image reproduction and information extraction from the reproduced images. This is also beneficial for fast delivery of information products and event-driven observations by constellation. The Emergence Studio (Sōhatsu kōbō in Japanese) with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency is developing evaluation models of FPGA-based signal processing system for onboard SAR image reproduction. The model, namely, “Fast L1 Processor (FLIP)” developed in 2016 can reproduce a 10m-resolution single look complex image (Level 1.1) from ALOS/PALSAR raw signal data (Level 1.0). The processing speed of the FLIP at 200 MHz results in twice faster than CPU-based computing at 3.7 GHz. The image processed by the FLIP is no way inferior to the image processed with 32-bit computing in MATLAB.
Yohei Sugimoto, Satoru Ozawa, and Noriyasu Inaba, "Spaceborne synthetic aperture radar signal processing using FPGAs," Proc. SPIE 10430, High-Performance Computing in Geoscience and Remote Sensing VII, 1043009 (Presented at SPIE Remote Sensing: September 12, 2017; Published: 5 October 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2280126.
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