RAPID: Radio Array of Portable Interferometric Detectors

The Radio Array of Portable Interferometric Detectors (RAPID) project involves the development of next-generation low-frequency radio arrays by Haystack engineers in partnership with Cambridge University Astrophysics and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

This radio science instrumentation leverages antennas developed for low-frequency radio telescopes such as the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) and the Long Wavelength Array (LWA) and combines them with a novel and uniquely flexible design that enables per-array-element data recording.

RAPID can be applied to obtain radio science measurements for both geospace and astronomy investigations. Examples include the study of phenomena in the ionosphere using imaging radar interferometry, precision measurement of Solar and Jovian radio bursts, and imaging of the radio emissions from lightning. Key features of the RAPID design and architecture include portability and ease of setup/breakdown of individual antenna units, the ability to operate without any site infrastructure, convenient and cost-effective shipping of the full array to distant locations, wide frequency coverage to support a range of science topics, digital voltage capture local to each antenna unit, and offline, cloud-based signal processing and data analysis.