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Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) at BYU

Traditionally, Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) systems were large and expensive to build and to operate. Intending to show that this does not need to be the case, starting in the early 1990's BYU begain designing and building a number of small, low-cost SAR systems, including interferometric SAR systems. The success of these systems has lead to their commercial development in a number of companies who employ students who have gone through the MERS lab SAR program.

Our first truck-mounted SAR systems were built in 1991, the first airborne system in 1993, the first rail-sar in 1999, and the first UAV system in 2004. We have been involved in the development of systems for both manned aircraft and UAV-based experiments.

MERS Papers on SAR

Major SAR Systems

YSAR (1994-1996)

  • Center frequency: 2 GHz
  • Bandwidth: 200 MHz
  • pulsed operation, 1 kHz PRF
  • Flown over archeological sites in Israel in Sept.1996

YINSAR (1995-2003)

BYU microSAR (2004-2008)

nuSAR (2007+)

  • Center frequency: 1.7, 9.75 GHz
  • Bandwidth: 100-500 MHz
  • Dual frequency, dual channel
  • pulsed operation, 300-25 kHz PRF

microASAR (2008+)

Major Airborne SAR Experiments*

Slumgullion Slide (1996-1999)

  • Sensor: YINSAR (X-band)
  • Platform: Manned aircraft
  • Operational area: Slumgullion, Colorado
  • annual flights over 3 yeras
  • Selected Data

CASIE 2006


  • Sensor: SlimSAR (X-band)
  • Platform: NASA SIERRA UAV
  • Operational area: Arctic Ocean north of Alaska
  • limited data due early loss of platform

*Selected projects only

Last updated: 2013