What is NovaSAR-1 ?
NovaSAR-1 represents a new concept in Earth observation satellites – a small Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) mission designed for low-cost programs, using a combination of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) technologies. The SAR instrument operates in the S-band microwave frequency (3.2 GHz), corresponding to a 9.4 cm wavelength. The spacecraft is also equipped with an Automatic Identification System (AIS) that can be combined with NovaSAR-1’s maritime surveillance mode for ship identification.
Conventional SAR satellites vs NovaSAR-1
As with previous SSTL missions such as the Disaster Monitoring Constellation, NovaSAR-1 was developed to be a low-cost and much smaller version of available technologies, but still providing medium resolution data with wide coverage. This is achieved by:
- reuse of heritage avionics (satellite platform) based upon the SSTL 300 avionics (used for Nigeriasat-2) to reduce risk.
- compatibility with existing SSTL satellite ground control segment.
- the payload back-end comes from existing Airbus Defence and Space UK instrument architecture.
- use of COTS technology where suitable to reduce cost.