This text is designed to meet the needs of students interested in remote sensing as a tool for the study of military and intelligence problems. It focuses on the technology of remote sensing, both for students who will be working in systems acquisition offices and for those who might eventually need to be “informed consumers” of the products derived from remote sensing systems. I hope it will also be useful for those who eventually work in the remote sensing field.
This text maintains as much as possible a focus on the physics of remote sensing. As a physicist, I’m more interested in the technology of acquiring data than the final applications. Therefore, this work differs from related textbooks that favor civilian applications, particularly geology, agriculture, weather (atmosphere), and oceanography. By contrast, I have concentrated on satellite systems, including power and telemetry systems, since this knowledge is important for those trying to develop new remote sensing systems. For example, one of the ongoing themes is how bandwidth constraints define what you can and cannot do in terms of remote sensing.
From a tactical perspective, low-spatial-resolution systems are not very interesting, so this text focuses on systems of high spatial resolution. This is not to deny the utility of, say,weather systems for themilitary, but that is a domain of a different sort, and one I leave to that community. Similarly, although oceanography is clearly important to the navy, that too is a topic I leave to another community. Unlike earlier texts, this text avoids discussion of the older film-based imaging systems.
When I started this text the IKONOS satellite had not yet been launched, so it is a curious thing that a document created in part due to the technological obsolescence of earlier textbooks may already be in some danger of falling behind! Remote sensing appears to be emerging as the third field, following communications and navigation, to become economically viable in space, and it is with great anticipation that we await the changes of a coming generation of imaging systems.
This text is organized according to a fairly typical progression—basic physics first, then visible optical systems, followed by infrared and radar systems. The necessary physics is developed for each domain, followed by a look at a few operational systems that are appropriate for that section. Somewhat unusual for a text of this sort is a chapter on how orbital mechanics influences remote sensing.
Finally, I will conclude the preface with a few basic questions. What is remote sensing? What is it good for? What do you need to know in order to use this technology? The text that follows will address these questions.
R. C. Olsen
Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA