Correlating Synthetic Aperture Radar (CoSAR)

Paco Lopez-Dekker, Marc Rodriguez-Cassola, Francesco De Zan, Gerhard Krieger, Alberto Moreira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents the correlating synthetic aperture radar (CoSAR) technique, a novel radar imaging concept to observe statistical properties of fast decorrelating surfaces. A CoSAR system consists of two radars with a relative motion in the along-track (cross-range) dimension. The spatial autocorrelation function of the scattered signal can be estimated by combining quasi-simultaneously received radar echoes. By virtue of the Van Cittert-Zernike theorem, estimates of this autocorrelation function for different relative positions can be processed by generating images of several properties of the scene, including the normalized radar cross section, Doppler velocities, and surface topography. Aside from the geometric performance, a central aspect of this paper is a theoretical derivation of the radiometric performance of CoSAR. The radiometric quality is proportional to the number of independent samples available for the estimation of the spatial correlation, and to the ratio between the CoSAR azimuth resolution and the real-aperture resolution. A CoSAR mission concept is provided where two geosynchronous radar satellites fly at opposing sides of a quasi-circular trajectory. Such a mission could provide bidaily images of the ocean backscatter, mean Doppler, and surface topography at resolutions on the order of 500 m over wide areas.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7339704
Pages (from-to)2268-2284
Number of pages17
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Bistatic radar
  • Ocean currents
  • Sea level
  • Sea surface
  • Synthetic aperture radar


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