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What is RADARSAT-2

Launch:
Status: Active

RADARSAT-2 is one of the world's most advanced commercially available Earth observation radar image providers and offers users around the world an expanded range of high-quality data products for hundreds of applications.

Technical characteristics

Mission overview

The RADARSAT-2 satellite mission offers powerful technical advancements that enhances marine surveillance, ice monitoring, disaster management, environmental monitoring, resource management and mapping in Canada and around the world. Scientific and commercial users in agriculture, cartography, hydrology, forestry, oceanography, and ice studies will greatly benefit from more readily accessible radar data.

This project represents a unique collaboration between government and industry. MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA) owns and operates the satellite and ground segment. The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) helps fund the construction and launch of the satellite and recovers this investment through the supply of RADARSAT-2 data to the Government of Canada during the lifetime of the mission. RADARSAT-2 demonstrates the Canadian space community's leadership in developing remote sensing technology and applications.

Infographic: RADARSAT-2: Canada's eye in the sky. Text version below.

This infographic presents a few interesting facts about the satellite to celebrate its anniversary. (Credit:  CSA)

Text version - RADARSAT-2: Canada's eye in the sky

RADARSAT-2: Canada's eye in the sky

Launched on , RADARSAT-2 is a Canadian Earth observation satellite.

It is used to:

  • monitor the impacts of climate change
  • protect our environment and foster sustainable development
  • manage our resources
  • support disaster relief

In 10 years (-)

  • 52,206 orbits
  • 2.35 billion km travelled, more than 10 times the average distance between Earth and Mars

Description

  • Uses radar technology to scan the Earth day or night through any weather conditions
  • Mass 2,300 kg
  • Speed 26,840 km/h
    • Crosses Canada in 10 minutes
  • Altitude 800 km
  • More than 60,000 images acquired every year

Looking to the future

The RADARSAT Constellation Mission is the next step for the RADARSAT program. Its three-satellite configuration will provide complete coverage of Canada, fly over the High Arctic up to four times a day and provide access to 90% of the world's surface.

What is it used for?

The primary mission objective is the supply and distribution of data and products to meet the needs of present and future markets using a commercially viable approach. This is achieved by leveraging the knowledge and experience gained through the long and successful RADARSAT-1 mission while taking advantage of new technologies. The RADARSAT-2 mission design and construction incorporates new capabilities that ensure Canada's continued leadership in the global marketplace for radar image data.

RADARSAT products also provide valuable information for major application areas in coastal and marine surveillance, and security and foreign policy.

RADARSAT-2: Keeping an eye on Earth. (Credit: CSA)

Commercially viable

The Canadian Space Program (CSP) is committed to ensuring Canada's Earth observation community develops into a leading, profitable and sustainable business through the continued development of remote sensing technology and applications. RADARSAT-2 is proof positive of Canada's commitment to a vigorous knowledge economy through support for leading-edge research, the development of innovative technologies, and the establishment of public-private sector partnerships.

The ground segment

The many systems that form the RADARSAT-2 ground segment are housed in CSA facilities in Longueuil, Quebec, and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; in Canada Centre for Mapping and Earth Observation (CCMEO) facilities in Gatineau, Quebec, and Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, and MDA headquarters in Richmond, British Columbia.

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