CubeSat-based passive bistatic radar for space situational awareness: a feasibility study

Adriano Rosario Persico, Paul Kirkland, Carmine Clemente, John J. Soraghan, Massimiliano Vasile

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
72 Downloads (Pure)


This paper proposes a low budget solution to detect and possibly track space debris and satellites in Low Earth Orbit. The concept consists of a space-borne radar installed on a cubeSat flying at low altitude and detecting the occultations of radio signals coming from existing satellites flying at higher altitudes. The paper investigates the feasibility and performance of such a passive bistatic radar system. Key performance metrics considered in this paper are: the minimum size of detectable objects, considering visibility and frequency constraints on existing radio sources, the receiver size and the compatibility with current cubeSat's technology. Different illuminator types and receiver altitudes are considered under the assumption that all illuminators and receivers are on circular orbits.
Original languageEnglish
Article number8387455
Pages (from-to)476-485
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems
Issue number1
Early online date18 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2019


  • space-borne radar
  • space debris
  • passive bistatic radar
  • space situational awareness
  • cubeSat based radar
  • forward scattering


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