Autonomous reconfiguration of a distributed synthetic aperture radar driven by mission requirements

S. Sarno*, M. D’Errico, J. Guo, E. Gill

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This paper introduces a strategy for an autonomous reconfiguration of a fractionated synthetic aperture radar (SAR) spacecraft system. The radar antenna is distributed on a small-satellite formation that can be reconfigured on orbit depending on the mission requirements. Once the acquisition geometry is specified in terms of formation type and the desired requirements are defined, the information is transmitted to the cluster. Hence, each satellite determines its own final state and elaborates the necessary trajectory for maneuvering. The reconfiguration algorithm is decentralized and exists in a distributed computational architecture. Therefore, the spacecraft platforms are assumed to be equal and able to communicate among each other. To demonstrate the viability of the proposed approach, a specific scenario is considered, with a distributed SAR operating at X-band that has to be reconfigured for interferometric applications. Simulation results show that once remote sensing requirements are specified, the developed algorithm can manage autonomously the spacecraft reconfiguration toward the corresponding operative pattern.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)527-537
Number of pages11
JournalCEAS Space Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Autonomous reconfiguration
  • Distributed SAR
  • Formation flying
  • Path planning
  • Relative guidance


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