Relativistic Effects in Bistatic Synthetic Aperture Radar

Krieger G, De Zan F (2014)

Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2014


Publisher: IEEE - Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

Book Volume: 52

Pages Range: 1480-1488

Journal Issue: 2


DOI: 10.1109/TGRS.2013.2251640


This paper addresses relativistic effects in bistatic and multistatic SAR systems and missions. It is shown that the use of different reference frames for bistatic SAR processing and bistatic radar synchronization is prone to notable phase and time errors. These errors are a direct con-sequence of the relativity of simultaneity and can be explained in good approximation within the framework of Einstein′s special theory of relativity. Using the invariance of the spacetime interval, an analytic expression is derived which shows that the time and phase errors increase with increasing along-track distance between the satellites. The predicted errors are in excel-lent agreement with measurements from TanDEM-X and provide a satisfactory explanation for previously observed DEM height offsets that exceeded +- 10 m. Consideration of the unex-pected relativistic effects is essential for accurate DEM generation in TanDEM-X and has in the meantime been implemented in the operational processing chain.

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Krieger, G., & De Zan, F. (2014). Relativistic Effects in Bistatic Synthetic Aperture Radar. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 52(2), 1480-1488.


Krieger, Gerhard, and Francesco De Zan. "Relativistic Effects in Bistatic Synthetic Aperture Radar." IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing 52.2 (2014): 1480-1488.

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