Two satellites of the RADARSAT family are currently operational. The first one, Radarsat-1, was developed by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) to monitor environmental changes and the planet's natural resources.

Radarsat-2 is the result of a unique collaboration between the Canadian government and industry. Supported by the CSA, the satellite was developed by MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA). This Canadian next-generation commercial radar satellite offers powerful technical advancements that enhance marine surveillance, ice monitoring, disaster management, environmental monitoring, resource management and mapping in Canada and around the world.

The RADARSAT Constellation is a mission set up by CSA, with as primary objective to ensure data continuity over the next decade.

A three-satellite configuration is foreseen, with satellite launches planned for 2014 and 2015.

altitude: 798 km
inclination: 98.6 degrees
orbit: sun-synchronous polar
orbit period: 100.7 minutes
revisit time: 24 days

satellites : RADARSAT-1 (4/11/1995 - still operational)
  RADARSAT-2 (14/12/2007 – operationel)

SAR sensors (Radarsat-1)
RADARSAT-1 is equipped with a powerful synthetic aperture radar (SAR) instrument, allowing acquisition of images of the Earth day and night, in all weather and through cloud cover, smoke and haze. RADARSAT's SAR instrument can shape and steer its radar beam. A wide variety of beam widths are available to capture swaths of 45 to 500 kilometres, with a range of 8 to 100 metres in resolution and incidence angles of 10 to 60 degrees. Consequently it can yield stereoscopic images as well.

Spectral band
Radar SAR band C (5,3 Ghz) HH 8 m < pixel < 100m

SAR sensors (Radarsat-2)
Radarsat-2 is also equipped with a SAR sensor, but this one presents a series of technical innovations. It can transmit horizontal (H) and vertical (V) polarizations and, depending on the selected mode, the sensor receives either H or V signals or both of the signals simultaneously. Therefore, in addition to providing complete RADARSAT-1 continuity (HH), RADARSAT-2 generates products with VV polarization, cross-polarization (HV or VH), dual-polarization (HH+HV or VV+VH) or quad-polarization (HH+VV+HV+VH). Each scattering element has varying sensitivities to different surface characteristics and properties, helping to improve the discrimination between features.
Left- and right-looking modes (dual-sided imaging) on RADARSAT-2 reduce the revisit time by one half and the accessibility swath is doubled. Finally, the spatial resolution is reduced to 3m.

Spectral band
Radar SAR band C (5,405 Ghz) HH, VV, HV, VH 3 m < pixel < 100m

Mission website

Data distributor
: MDA (MacDonald Dettwiler) - Canada

Oilspill in Kaapstad,
South Africa
© Canadian Space Agency/Agence spatiale canadienne. Received by the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing. Processed and distributed by RADARSAT International.

Courtesy of NASA - Goddard Space Flight Center/Scientific
Visualization Studio - Image Received by the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing,
Processed by and provided courtesy of RADARSAT International Inc, © Canadian Space Agency