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Spacetech startup GalaxEye tests SAR tech on NAL’s pseudo satellite

ISN Team
New Update

Bengaluru-based spacetech startup GalaxEye has achieved a significant milestone by successfully testing its Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) technology on a high altitude pseudo-satellite (HAPS) developed by the National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL).

This positions GalaxEye as the first private entity to conduct SAR trials on a HAPS system.

HAPS is a stratosphere-operating, solar-powered drone capable of extended aerial surveillance missions. The integration of GalaxEye's novel SAR sensor overcomes the challenge of capturing clear imagery through cloud cover, which traditional electro-optical cameras cannot achieve.

Why is SAR Technology important?


SAR technology offers high-quality, all-weather, day-and-night imaging capabilities. The recent trials mark a significant milestone in the partnership between GalaxEye and NAL, formalized through a memorandum of understanding (MoU).

This collaboration underscores both organizations' commitment to advancing India's aerospace capabilities and bolstering the self-reliant India initiative. 

"We are grateful for NAL’s support. The rigorous test flights have provided crucial insights, paving the way for further R&D endeavors focused on optimizing SAR with low size, weight, and power characteristics," said Suyash Singh, Co-founder and CEO of GalaxEye.

Historically, SAR technology for HAPS has been confined to a few countries' government space agencies, with limited operational implementation.

GalaxEye’s breakthrough positions India at the forefront of SAR innovation, aligning with the nation’s drive towards technological self-reliance.

Beyond defence operations, GalaxEye’s SAR technology holds immense potential for environmental monitoring and disaster management applications, contributing to societal well-being. Last year, GalaxEye conducted radar imaging through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in collaboration with ISRO and DRDO.

Enhancing surveillance capabilities

HAPS platforms operate from the stratosphere, like high-flying drones, and are enabled for prolonged aerial surveillance by solar energy and advanced battery systems. The SAR technology provides superior imaging capabilities compared to traditional electro-optical cameras, which struggle with cloud cover.

The trials advance the collaboration between NAL and GalaxEye to develop, integrate, and test SAR payloads for HAPS.

Suyash Singh mentioned, “The rigorous test flights provided invaluable insights and paved the way for further R&D endeavours.”

Future of SAR Technology for HAPS

While the initial tests are encouraging, a series of further tests will be necessary before these platforms can be deployed for practical applications. An NAL spokesperson emphasized, "Our focus is on optimizing SAR technology with low SWaP (Size, Weight, and Power) characteristics."

The demonstration on May 10 at the Aeronautical Test Range near Chitradurga, facilitated by DRDO, marked a significant development in aerospace innovation.

The IIM-Madras-incubated GalaxEye aims to redefine global standards in SAR innovation, foster technological self-reliance, and enhance India's defence and environmental monitoring capabilities.