Purdue University Graduate School
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posted on 2023-07-27, 12:11 authored by Seho KimSeho Kim

Multiple Signals of Opportunity (multi-SoOp) across different frequencies and polarizations

offer a potential breakthrough for remote sensing of root-zone soil moisture (RZSM). Deeper penetration depths of existing communication transmissions in the frequency ranges of 137–138, 240–270, and 360–380 MHz enable the estimation of RZSM by complementing global navigation satellite system reflectometry (GNSS-R) in L-band. The small form factor of the multi-SoOp observatory allows for high spatiotemporal coverage of RSZM by a satellite constellation in a cost-effective manner. This study aims to develop models and tools to define mission requirements for various system parameters that affect observation accuracy and coverage, for the advancement of spaceborne multi-SoOp remote sensing. These parameters include frequency and polarization combinations, observation error, inter-frequency temporal coincidence, and configuration of the satellite constellation. We present the development of a retrieval algorithm and the sensitivity analysis of retrieval accuracy. The retrieval algorithm was evaluated using synthetic observations generated from multiyear time series of in-situ soil moisture (SM) and satellite-based vegetation data. The combined use of both high and low frequencies improves retrieval accuracy by limiting uncertainties from vegetation and surface SM and providing sensitivity to deeper layers. A bivariate model, derived from the sensitivity analysis, facilitates error prediction for future science missions. We introduce a framework for tradespace exploration of the multi-SoOp satellite constellation. A constellation design study indicates that a Walker constellation comprising 24 satellites with 3 orbital planes at 500 km and 50° inclination optimizes the coverage and mission cost under mission requirements. A tower-based field experiment validated the performance of a prototype antenna for multi-SoOp using the interference pattern technique. More field experiments with improved instruments are required to further advance the multi-SoOp technique.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Aeronautics and Astronautics

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

James L. Garrison

Additional Committee Member 2

Kathleen Howell

Additional Committee Member 3

Mark R. Bell

Additional Committee Member 4

Rajat Bindlish