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In the last four years, the first two Earth-orbiting, space-borne, synthetic-aperture imaging radars (SAR) were successfully developed and operated. This was a major achievement in the development of spaceborne radar sensors and ground processors. The data acquired with these sensors extended the capability of Earth resources and ocean-surface observation into a new region of the electromagnetic spectrum. This paper is a review of the different aspects of spaceborne imaging radars. It includes a review of: 1) the unique characteristics of space-borne SAR systems; 2) the state of the art in spaceborne SAR hardware and SAR optical and digital processors; 3) the different data-handling techniques; and 4) the different applications of spaceborne SAR data.
Date of Publication: Oct. 1982