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UAVSAR – Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The L-band radar was directed to support a SpaceX request to locate Falcon 9 debris in Florida.  We surveyed the debris site near the launch pad in Cape Canaveral from 8 different look directions aboard the Armstrong G-III on September 22.

First step of our analysis is to look for test targets planted by the SpaceX team in the debris field consisting of mangrove and sandbar.  We just completed a preliminary assessment of the high resolution (1.5 m by 0.8 m) UAVSAR data of 4 of the 12 data takes acquired by visually inspecting the polarimetric signatures which are sensitive to flat metal plates.  The conclusion so far is that we can detect the test targets on the sandbar and under shorter trees, but that the test targets in the mangroves are not immediately detectable with visual inspection.