A Gulfstream II-mounted GeoSAR (geographic synthetic aperture radar) system is being prepared for operations during January by Total Aircraft Services (TAS) of Van Nuys, California.
TAS had expected to have US Federal Aviation Administration supplemental type certification for the system by November, but this was delayed by electromagnetic interference problems, which are expected to be resolved by the end of this month.
GeoSAR comprises a dual-frequency radar system that will be able to collect almost 250km2 (95 miles2) of data a minute. TAS modified the wingtips with fuel tanks that it then converted into radomes for a P-band radar. Radomes housing an X-band system were located beneath the wings, and a calibrating laser was then added to a belly-mounted pod.
The three devices, using a technique known as interferometry, combine to produce a three-dimensional image of the Earth's surface by day or night.
TAS says that GeoSAR will be the first instrument to map above, through and below the vegetation canopy to provide data from the ground.
Maps created by the system will be used to assess potential geological/seismic hazards such as landslides, classify land cover, map farmlands and urbanisation, and manage forestation.
GeoSAR is being developed by a consortium of Fresno, California-based geographic mapping company Calgis; the California department of conservation; NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, with funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency; and the US Imagery and Mapping Agency.
The consortium, which is known as Earth Data, has also contracted TAS to operate the modified GII in service.
Source: Flight International