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FSS-constellations for avalanche detection with passive radar SLIDE



Prime contractor
Organisational Unit
Activity Type
Implementation progress
28 April 2023

Duration: 12 months


Avalanche monitoring is of critical importance for safety of people and infrastructure. In this study it is proposed to investigate the possibility of exploiting passive radars for avalanche monitoring. Specifically, given that avalanches typically occur in remote areas, the exploitation of satellite-based illuminators in low Earth orbit is considered such as fixed satellite service (FFS) mega-constellations Starlink and OneWeb. These constellations offer continuous illumination over remote areas with multiple satellites at a time from different observation angles, and they therefore offer a robust source of illumination in mountainous regions.

The main advantages with respect to active radars reside:

  1. in the low costs and ease of deployment;
  2. in the possibility to be operated without transmitting licenses, and
  3. thanks to movement of the satellites, the possibility to achieve bistatic synthetic aperture radar (SAR) even from a stationary receiver.

Fraunhofer FHR is one of the leading research institutes worldwide working on passive radars, and it has developed over the last few years several experimental demonstrators for satellite-based passive radars.

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FSS-constellations for avalanche detection with passive radar SLIDE