South Africa's Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has announced that it is partnering with local company Space Commercial Services Holdings Aerospace (SCSH) group to develop a maritime wide-area synthetic aperture radar (SAR) for use by small satellites. The project was announced on Thursday at the African Aerospace and Defence 2014 exhibition at Air Force Base Waterkloof, just south of Pretoria.
"We are open to international cooperation," CSIR manager: radar and electronic warfare systems Erlank Pienaar told Engineering News Online on Friday. "It's not exclusively a CSIR/SCSH project. And if we get an international partner we will be able to accelerate the development of this radar."
"The South African-developed small satellite SAR will enable global stakeholders and partners to have strategic independence through full access and control to the data and information products," said the CSIR and SCSH in a joint statement. "This type of radar is unique in that it provides all-weather, day and night strategic information for maritime surveillance, reconnaissance, resource and disaster management. The processed images enable planning, resource allocation and management of the ocean economy."
The new SAR will be lightweight, cost-effective and yet deliver high value imagery. "The target market is the developing world -- the leading developing countries," stated Pienaar. "We are looking to get the maximum benefit for South Africa from this development."
The CSIR will provide its knowledge in radar research and development expertise (including in airborne SAR systems), modelling and simulation, processing algorithms and techniques. It will also contribute systems and subsystems.
SCSH will provide its knowledge in the design and development of high-performance satellites, payloads, related subsystems and support and ground applications. The company's expertise embraces communications, electro-optical and SAR satellites.