Silentium Defence aims to improve disaster planning from space


Passive radar systems manufacturer Silentium Defence has partnered with the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Duke University engineering researchers to improve disaster monitoring and management from spacecraft.

Capabilities to be explored under a new partnership utilising Adelaide-based Silentium’s passive military radar technology include faster, more accurate storm predictions, real-time tracking of bushfire activity and open ocean surveillance.

Passive radar does not emit radiation, but monitors radiation from all sources and analyses data collected for a variety of tasks.

The initial phase of the project will explore the feasibility and utility of passive radar in a variety of applications for earth observation from low earth orbiting (LEO) satellites.

The second will integrate Silentium’s system with the Duke researchers’ novel metasurface antenna architecture to validate the models developed in phase one.

Ultimately, the objective is to launch a prototype small satellite, mounted with Silentium’s passive radar sensors for wide area earth observation and capture.

Silentium CEO Dr James Palmer said: “Earth-observing satellites are critical tools for forecasting all kinds of activity from severe weather events to floods, open ocean surveillance and impacts of climate change.

“They are used by organisations like US Department of Defense, the Bureau of Meteorology, NASA, and the United Nations to inform decision making and to keep people, places, and assets here on earth safe.

“The challenge is they require heavy, power-hungry antennas mounted on big, expensive satellites to create and capture those observations.”

Small satellites could be more efficient, but to date require regular charging and only capture a narrow picture of earth with each orbit.

Palmer said the partnership, if successful, could enable’ faster, higher quality and more informed object, trend and environment tracking from space’.

The application of Silentium’s passive radar technology in earth observation would broaden the suite of Silentium’s products for both surveillance or air, land, sea, and space domains.

Image: Silentium Defence

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