MIRSL to help develop NSF's next-generation airborne radar

MIRSL will be contributing to the development of the next-generation airborne radar for the National Science Foundation's C-130 research aircraft, pictured at right.  The Airborne Phased Array Radar (APAR) will be developed by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) along with partners at NOAA, Ball Aerospace, Colorado State University, Stony Brook University, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and the University of Oklahoma.  See the press release from NCAR here.

The APAR will improve on existing radar by allowing scientists to sample the atmosphere at higher spatial resolution and probe more deeply into storms, ultimately painting a more detailed picture of storm dynamics and microphysics. APAR will also be an extremely flexible platform. Its agile scanning capability can switch radar beam directions almost instantaneously, allowing scientists to scan the atmosphere in any direction, a contrast to traditional fixed-direction airborne scanning radars. 

Congrats to new Ph.D.s

Congratulations to Dr. Jezabel Vilardell Sanchez pictured at right with her advisor, Stephen Frasier, at the 2023 UMass Commencement Ceremony held on May 26.  Congratulations also to Dr. Yuki Itoh (Ph.D. 2022) who attended the ceremony with his advisor, Mario Parente.  It was a beautiful day!

Yang Lei wins best interactive paper prize at IGARSS 2022

MIRSL graduate Yang Lei (Ph.D. 2016) and Paul Siqueira shared the IEEE GRSS Symposium Interactive Prize Paper Award at IGARSS 2022 held in Kuala Lampur. The paper title was Refined Foreststand Height Inversion Approach with Spaceborne Repeat-Pass L-band SAR Interferometry and GEDI Lidar Data and is an extension to Yang’s PhD thesis Electromagnetic Scattering models for InSAR Correlation Measurements of  Vegetation and Snow for which he won the ECE Department’s inaugural Dissertation Prize.  After spending one year in industry and three as a post-doc at JPL & Caltech, Yang is now a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.  Congratulations, Yang!

MIRSL to study of landfalling hurricanes

MIRSL is participating in a four-year National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP) project entitled "Predicting Hurricane Coastal Impacts."  Professors Stephen Frasier and Simon Kraatz of MIRSL will work with colleagues from the University of Miami to collect and analyze spaceborne synthetic aperture radar data to evaluate coastal changes in topography, flooding, and damage due to landfalling hurricanes.  MIRSL will work specifically with radar data provided by Capella Space, a U.S. startup company deploying a constellation of 36 satellites operating at X-band.  These satellites can be tasked to acquire imagery of specific areas on short notice and will augment observations by other spaceborne imaging radars and optical sensors.  Ultimately observations will be used in near-real-time to improve predictive models of coastal change.

Harmony mission moves to next phase

Kudos to MIRSL alumnus Paco Lopez Dekker (PhD '03) whose satellite mission concept, Harmony, has been chosen by the European Space Agency (ESA) to move to the next phase of development as the tenth Earth Explorer mission. Harmony is envisaged as a mission with two satellites that orbit in formation with one of the Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellites to address key scientific questions related to ocean, ice, and land dynamics.  

Paco is currently an Associate Professor in the Geoscience and Remote Sensing Department of the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences at the Delft University of Technology.  Congrats Paco!

MIRSL alumna part of successful NASA Mars rover landing

Congratulations to Dr. Dragana Perkovic-Martin for the successful operation of thte landing radar for the Mars 2020 rover, Perseverence.  Dragana led the system engineering team for the mission's landing radar, which is now in a pile of rubble somewhere in the Jezero Crater after the descent stage safely lowered the rover.  Dragana graduated with her Ph.D. from MIRSL in 2008 and has worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory since then.  You can see more about what Dragana has been up to in her Mars 2020 mission profile here. 


Raytheon Technologies produces videos of field research

Raytheon Technologies has just released three interrelated videos of the storm-chasing research carried out by MIRSL faculty and students, in collaboration with faculty and students from Purdue University, while chasing tornadoes and severe thunderstorms throughout the Midwest.  The videos feature the deployment of a sophisticated Raytheon radar prototype known as Skyler.

Watch the videos under the umbrella title of Radar Reimagined: Chasing the Storm;  Weather Watching Engineered; and The Scientists Behind the Search.  These videos detail our field work during Spring 2019 with faculty and students of Purdue University's Department of Earth, Atmosphere, and Planetary Science.


MIRSL alum to head NASA Earth Science Division

Congratulations to MIRSL alumna Karen St. Germain, who has been selected to head NASA's Earth Science Division beginning June 2020.  Karen is moving to her new post from a senior position at NOAA's National Environmental Satellite Data and Informationn Service (NESDIS) where she has guided the ongoing development and deployment of NOAA’s major satellite programs.  More about her new appointment is available here

Karen completed her Ph.D. in 1993 at MIRSL under the guidance of Prof. Calvin Swift.  She often cites her experience at MIRSL, where she learned the full, end-to-end process of remote sensing, as a key to her success. "From establishing the science-based observation objectives, building the instruments, collecting the measurements in the field, developing the algorithms, processing the data and validating the results, MIRSL provides students a rare hands-on opportunity to learn the entire remote sensing process."

Congratulations, Karen!


Radar Testbed Launched

MIRSL students and engineers recently installed the second of two radar systems on the Orchard Hill tower.  Shown at right is the final phase of installing the Low Power Radar (LPR), a phased-array developed by Raytheon and currently on loan to UMass.  The LPR will be used to scan weather simultaneously with the UMaXX radar, which is a more conventional radar employing a mechanically-scanned antenna.  Observations by the two radars will be compared to a

Meet UMaXX

 MIRSL has just re-installed an X-band weather radar atop the tower on Orchard Hill on the UMass campus.  Formerly the platform for the CASA Engineering Research Center's prototype radar, the tower now houses the UMass eXperimental X-band radar (UMaXX).  UMaXX will be used for weather observations and as a reference radar for polarimetric studies with a phased-array radar on loan to UMass from Raytheon under research funded by the National


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