Space-based Sub-THz ISAR for space situational awareness – concept and design

Emidio Marchetti, Andrew Stove, Edward Hoare, Mike Cherniakov, David Blacknell , Marina Gashinova

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The concept of sub-terahertz (sub-THz) imaging and recognition of space objects by a satellite based inverse synthetic aperture radar (ISAR) is proposed and analyzed in this paper. Operation at sub-THz frequencies in the band 200 GHz - 400 GHz benefits from wide available bandwidth, high sensitivity to surface texture and very small target features, and requires an antenna of small physical size. A feasibility study is presented based on use case scenarios of the relative motion of monitoring satellite and observed objects. Expected resolutions, power budget and oscillator stability requirements in this frequency band are discussed. Image formation methods are proposed and evaluated with simulations. A simple electromagnetic modeling capability is proposed to create a comprehensive dataset of sub-THz ISAR images, with the orientation and aspect angles seen by the sensors, which can be used to train semantic classifiers.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems, IEEE US
Early online date22 Nov 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Nov 2021


  • Spaceborne radar
  • Satellites
  • Radar
  • Radar imaging
  • Space vehicles
  • Image resolution
  • Radar tracking


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