Date of Award

Summer 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering (MSE)


Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

James L. Garrison

Committee Chair

James L. Garrison

Committee Member 1

Stephen J. Katzberg

Committee Member 2

John P. Sullivan


Passive bistatic radar remote sensing offers a novel method of monitoring the Earth's surface by observing reflected signals of opportunity. The Global Positioning System (GPS) has been used as a source of signals for these observations and the scattering properties of GPS signals from rough surfaces are well understood. Recent work has extended GPS signal reflection observations and scattering models to include communications signals such as XM radio signals. However the communication signal reflectometry experiments to date have relied on collecting raw, high data-rate signals which are then post-processed after the end of the experiment. This thesis describes the development of a communication signal bistatic radar receiver which computes a real time correlation waveform, which can be used to retrieve measurements of the Earth's surface. The real time bistatic receiver greatly reduces the quantity of data that must be stored to perform the remote sensing measurements, as well as offering immediate feedback. This expands the applications for the receiver to include space and bandwidth limited platforms such as aircraft and satellites. It also makes possible the adjustment of flight plans to the observed conditions. This real time receiver required the development of an FGPA based signal processor, along with the integration of commercial Satellite Digital Audio Radio System (SDARS) components. The resulting device was tested both in a lab environment as well on NOAA WP-3D and NASA WB-57 aircraft.