GEO Monitoring

24/7 radar array for GEO monitoring, threat assessment and mitigation

A ground-based radar system comprised of widely-spaced transmit and receive arrays could be built to monitor objects in GEO with superior performance to any existing ground-based systems including Space Fence. 

DESCRIPTION

Space Domain Awareness is a growing concern.  Monitoring of Space assets and mitigation of threats is of vital importance to National security.  The new Space Fence is well-equipped to monitor LEO (Low Earth Objects) but is inadequate for GEO assets.   

Using our low-risk, TRL-6 Self-Controlled arraying technology, a powerful, precision, radar array could be realized with 24/7 availability.   

With our method, the antennas in the radar arrays (both transmit and receive) are instantly synchronized upon power-up.  Our technology features continual, autonomous local self-calibration of EVERYTHING (no partial loops).  The calibration is always optimum.

All other approaches rely on repeated recalibration of the antenna arrays using external objects such as satellies (active or passive). The antennas immediately begin to drift out of calibration after each recalibration event, to an unknown state.  This jeopardizes mission success.    Additionally, pointing away for repeated recalibration creates an opportunity for cyber attacks.

Our arraying technology also enables operation at higher frequencies (e.g. X-band versus S-band) because we are able to mitigate atmospheric effects in real-time.  Higher frequencies provide increased sensitivity enabling even smaller objects and greater ranges.

We have taken two approaches to this mission.  First a notional low-cost (10s of millions) solution (USPTO 17/116,251, 2019) and second, a high impact global system for global coverage of much smaller objects due to the number of sites and increased number of antennas.

Applications for this multi-static, widely-spaced reflector radar array include:  24/7 monitoring of GEO assets, co-orbiter detection, object characterization and imaging, threat mitigation and comprehensive GEO arc search. T

INNOVATIONS

  • Method and system for comprehensive GEO surveillance
  • Multi-static, widely-spaced coherent transmit and receive radar array
  • 24/7 availability without the need for periodic recalibration events
  • Autonomous, continual self-calibrating antenna arrays for both Tx and Rx components of the radar system
  • Antennas can be widely-spaced so periodic maintenance can be scheduled for individual antennas without the need to shut the entire Tx array down to avoid radiation hazard
  • No external assets or objects are required to keep the system calibrated thus avoiding ECM during calibration events
  • ALL array circuitry is under continuous closed-loop phase control, not just some but ALL
  • Instantly available on power-up
  • COTs antennas and hardware can be used rather than expensive, state-of-the-art reflectors such as those in the Deep Space Network (Goldstone, Madrid, Canberra)

EXAMPLE

Consider three sites on the Earth.  Each site would be about 120 degrees apart longitudinally; similar to the configuration of the current Deep Space Network.  At each of the sites a multistatic radar is configured with the transmit and receive arrays some distance apart.  The installation can be permanent using fixed, stable 12m antennas.  It can expand over time since, with our technology, additional antennas can be added to both or either of the Tx or Rx antenna arrays. 

This inherent expandability of our technology enables the detection of smaller objects such as co-orbiters or the ability to detect objects further away.  We have simulated large arrays (about 50 antennas) per site capable of performing multiple missions due to the ability to use groups of the antennas as subarrays. 

Such a system can work in various modes.  First, a target is provided and the system scans and images in the vicinity of the target.  Second, a threat is discovered at the target, RF energy can be directed at the threat to disable it.  Third, certain LO objects can be ‘seen’ with the radar system and potentially ISAR imaged.  Fourth, a comprehensive search of the GEO arc can be conducted for comprehensive detection and characterization.

A low-cost (10s of millions) variation of this radar system is patent-pending with the purpose of comprehensive detection of objects in GEO.  Since geosynchronous objects are not Earth-propagating, our previous notional radar, ESSAR (US Patent 9,989,634) does not find them.  Our GEO ESSAR was designed to close this gap (US Patent Pending 62/945,604, 2019).

BENEFITS

  • Doesn’t require periodic re-calibration; no down time
  • Instantly ready on power-up; 24/7 operations
  • Handles very high altitudes not covered by other radar ground systems
  • Number of reflectors is expandable for smaller objects at higher ranges
  • Uses a low risk, already proven coherent transmit and calibrated receive arraying technology
  • Method allows for very wide spacing of the antennas for super high-resolution on the target
  • Wide search area determined by the width of a single antenna
  • Since the antennas are widely-spaced; single nodes can be maintained as needed