From the beginning of my sophomore year until graduation, I worked in Dr. V. Chandrasekar's Radar Engineering Research Group at Colorado State University. For my involvement within the research group, I have worked on a variety of research projects under capacities such as 'Undergraduate Research Assistant (URA)', 'Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Student', and 'Senior Design Student'. Each of these projects are detailed below and may include links to more detailed descriptions of work.
NASA recently launched the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission in early 2014 to conduct precipitation measurements from outer space. The spaceborne radar will be used to unify an international network of partner satellites and radars to improve forecasting of extreme events, among other uses. The purpose of this project ultimately was to aid alignment of the NASA GPM radar (also referred to as the NASA Dual Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR)) and the WSR-88D NEXRAD radar located in space and Melbourne, Florida, respectively.
The Dual-Frequency Radar from Space design team extensively researched aspects of the project related to the fundamental principles of radar as well as specific characteristics pertaining to the GPM radar and the NEXRAD radar. Furthermore, understanding the complex process of aligning radar observations between two radars by accounting for different volume distributions and disparate errors in radars (from previous academic research) was a focal aspect of initial work on the project. Increasing familiarity with radar file formats, data transformation, and necessary programming languages were initially done in preparation for later work on the project when the focus of the project shifted to the ultimate goal of constructing volume matching code between the two radars that will ultimately contribute to the final goal of the Dual Frequency from Space project, alignment between the two radars.
The principle results from the work completed show that the Dual-Frequency Radar from Space team made timely achievement towards project completion. Initial experience with the specifics of the GPM and WSR-88D radars was developed and not only allowed for meaningful usage of radar data but also initiated stages of cross-analysis. Once completed, work focused on volume matching measurements between the two radars using cross-validation methods and accordingly, will contribute to developing the GPM mission that is currently in its infant stages. Once the volume matching software was completed, case studies of the volume matching software were completed using the software, WSR-88D radar located in Melbourne, Florida, and the NASA DPR space radar.
In a world that is constantly growing with information, there is a pressing need to organize data and search it to find what one is looking for. The purpose of this Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) project was to develop a new system of organizing radar data information that would allow the user much easier access of information and implement search-able functions that will give the user the power to find exactly what they are looking for. This functionality is crucial as radar data is constantly growing in magnitude and previous data systems lacked search-able data functionality. This project was envisioned as a further extension of the already existing Virtual CHILL (VCHILL) software tool, with improved functionality. Work on this new system began in the 2014 spring semester and this summer REU plans expanded upon work completed during this time. The goal of this project was to have an operational version running by the end of the summer and include features such as plotting in a browser, searching metadata, and making download-able case files of research. These features allow for scientists to find exactly what they are looking for and organize their work in a way that will be highly accessible to collaboration with other scientists. Furthermore, there is room for further improvements upon this project in the future that will allow for improved functionality.
When constructing radar systems, extensive testing and calibration is an essential part of the process to safeguard that the system is operating correctly and efficiently. Without this, radar systems could return incorrect results or even worse, damage the entire system. The purpose of this Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) project was to test the Duplexer (waveguide subsystem) of CSU-CHILL's new solid-state transmitter to ensure that the solid-state power amplifier would not be damaged during initial power-up due to any faults in the Duplexer assembly. The transmitter system includes many components such as filters, directional couplers, circulators, and attenuators, working in conjunction with the solid-state power amplifier to ensure proper functioning of the radar system as a whole. A variety of tests were done to verify the waveguide subsystem, including low and medium power tests that measured return and insertions losses between various ports of the system. Once these smaller power tests were completed, the waveguide subsystem was calibrated and was expected to be fully functional at normal operating power levels.
Wrote a C++ program to transform a radar file format 300 times faster than previous option.