The RADARSAT programme consists of a pair of remote sensing satellites from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA):

  • RADARSAT-1 was an Earth-imaging radar satellite which CSA launched on 04 November 1995 and was decommissioned on 29 March 2013.
  • RADARSAT-2 is an Earth-imaging radar satellite which CSA and MDA (MacDonald Dettwiler Associates Ltd. of Richmond, BC) launched on 14 December 2007 and remains operational.

Mission specifications 

  • Orbit Inclination  -  98.6 degrees
  • Orbit Altitude  -  RADARSAT-1: 793-821 km and RADARSAT-2: 798 km
  • Orbit Duration   - 100.7 min
  • Orbit Type  -  Sun-synchronous (14 orbits per day)
  • Descending node  -  6 hours
  • Ascending node  -  18 hours
  • Repeat cycle  -  24 days

The aim of the RADARSAT missions is provide useful information to both commercial and scientific users in such fields as disaster management, interferometry, agriculture, cartography, hydrology, forestry, oceanography, ice studies and coastal monitoring.

A Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) sensor is the primary payload of RADARSAT-1 and 2. The SAR can image Earth at a single microwave frequency of 5.3 GHz, in the C band (wavelength of 5.6 cm). This enables images of Earth to be acquired day or night, in any atmospheric condition, such as cloud cover, rain, snow, dust or haze.