CSTARS Awarded $16.5 Million ONR Contract

Contract will allow CSTARS to continue collecting, processing, and disseminating satellite data.

Miami (March 21, 2013) — The University of Miami’s Center for Southeastern Tropical Advanced Remote Sensing (CSTARS) has announced that it has been awarded a contract by the Office of Naval Research to continue collecting, processing, and disseminating data from global Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite systems. The goal of the project is to provide SAR imagery collected in near-real time to aid in U.S. Navy operations around the world.

The first phase of the grant will allow CSTARS scientists to procure processing terminals that will assist in the development of hardware and software for the next generation of commercial imagery. CSTARS will continue to develop its numerous algorithms of image analysis using new imaging modes and insights derived from research and testing of data with the availability of the new satellite sensors.

“We are very pleased to be working with the ONR on this project, which will allow us to continue to provide the U.S. Navy Fleet with valuable images and research products from commercial satellites,” said Hans Graber, professor and executive director of CSTARS. “Through this collaboration we will be able to fuse radar and optical data to derive advanced products that will allow us to understand better oceanographic, sea ice, and terrestrial processes. With this solidifying support of our infrastructure from the Navy, CSTARS can continue its track record for excellence in research and the education of students using satellite remote sensing data.”

Subsequent phases will focus on the implementation of specific research applications—from the determination of oceanographic features such as winds and waves in typhoons and hurricanes to disaster response.  Other applications will include studies of Arctic sea ice and environmental monitoring, as well as mapping and change detection.

“We are very excited by this new contract that will strengthen the relation between our school and ONR,” said Roni Avissar, dean of the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. “We are especially appreciative of Professor Graber’s leadership in bringing this opportunity to the school.”

CSTARS’ researchers and students are working on several ONR-funded projects studying dynamic processes at river mouths such as changes caused by strong surface currents and bathymetric features; the impact of melting and freezing cycles of ice distribution in the Marginal Ice Zone and how sea state breaks up ice; as well as understanding intensity changes in typhoons for improved storm forecasting.

About CSTARS and the University of Miami

Launched in 2003, CSTARS is a program of the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, one of the world’s premier marine and atmospheric research institutions. Employing low earth-orbiting satellite systems, CSTARS scientists conduct research using remotely sensed data. They provide down-linked, high-resolution data for environmental monitoring of the Gulf of Mexico, Southeastern United States, northern South America, Central America, and the Caribbean Basin. CSTARS also furnishes a reliable communications channel for researchers stationed at the Antarctic South Pole Research Station, connecting them via VoIP (Voice over the Internet Protocol), and providing telemedicine information, when required. In 2011 CSTARS won the inaugural Innovation Award from the Alliance for Earth Observations for action taken by the during the Deep Water Horizon disaster, as well as the Department of Homeland Security’s Science & Technology Award. CSTARS is a world leader in the acquisition and processing of commercial satellite data.

The University of Miami is the largest private research institution in the southeastern United States. The University’s mission is to provide quality education, attract and retain outstanding students, support the faculty and their research, and build an endowment for University initiatives.


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