Helko Breit, Srikanth Mandapati, Ulrich Balss
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Remote Sensing Technology Institute
82234 Weßling


This paper describes the concept and prototype implementation of a low latency spaceborne onboard Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) processor runing on a Multi- Processor-System-On-Chip (MPSoC) computing device combining an ARM processor and a Field-Programmable- Gate-Array (FPGA). The SAR processor is designed to generate SAR imagery from TerraSAR-X stripmap data for subsequent ship detection and sea state determination. Low latency data processing is a key development goal. Currently, a raw data block of 8k x 32k samples, covering 375 km2 to 500 km2, is focused on the hardware within 4 s. Together with an attached level-2 ship detection, wind, and sea state processor, running on the same device, a SAR data processing chain for generation of maritime alerts is formed. This chain is part of a larger prototype system being developed in the frame of the H2020 EO-ALERT project which further comprises an optical data chain, data compression/encryption, and scheduling on multiple reconfigurable MPSoC boards.

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