Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Aerospace Engineering Sciences

First Advisor

Scott Palo

Second Advisor

Christopher Williams

Third Advisor

Jeffrey Thayer

Fourth Advisor

Albin Gasiewski

Fifth Advisor

Dennis Akos


This dissertation presents details of new techniques in specular meteor radar data acquisition, modeling and determining the fundamental specular meteor radar echo signal parameters. One goal of Multistatic Meteor Wind Radar (MMWR) is increasing the spatial and temporal resolution of the upper-atmospheric windfield estimate by distributing a network of synchronized interferometers over large spatial regions on the order of 100’s of [km]. Modern theories of meteor trail diffusion are placed in the context of modeling the ground illumination pattern created when an arbitrarily placed meteor trail scatters VHF radio waves originating from an arbitrarily located transmitter. The ground illumination pattern shows how meteor trail scatter can be observed by receivers located over large spatial regions on Earth’s surface.

MMWR is enabled with the Colorado Software Radar (CoSRad), a software-defined radar remote sensing transceiver system developed at the University of Colorado’s ARSENL laboratory. Various specular meteor trail echoes observed using CoSRad configured to drive existing radars highlight CoSRad’s potential for reconfigurability. A set of long-baseline multistatic observations taken using a prototype system deployment in Australia demonstrates the MMWR measurement principle and the ground illumination pattern model.

Unexpected issues encountered when processing the prototype MMWR data using traditional interferometry methods motivated the development of a new technique to solve the parameter estimation problem of specular meteor radar interferometry on the complex plane. One benefit of the complex plane interferometry solution technique is the formation of a parameter covariance matrix, representing the precision of the measured trail location, Doppler and diffusion signal parameters. The determination of fundamental measurement parameter precision is important, as it lays the groundwork for calculating the precision of the derived multistatic windfield. This dissertation presents modern techniques in modeling and observing specular scatter from meteor trails and estimating the fundamental signal parameters of spatial location, Doppler frequency and diffusion coefficient from the specular radar echoes.