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RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM)


Figure 1 - Illustration of RCM spacecraft (image credits: MDA, CSA, ESA)

About the mission/sensor

The Radarsat Constellation Mission (RCM) is an evolution of the RADARSAT program and is a follow-on of the RADARSAT-2 mission. RCM consists of a fleet of three identical spacecraft equipped with a C-band (5.405 GHz) SAR sensor. RCM is conducted by the Canadian Space Agency, with MDA Ltd. as prime contractor responsible for the design, construction and testing of the spacecraft.

SAR imaging modes and polarizations

RCM imaging modes in ScanSAR, StripMap and Spotlight are the followings:

  1. SC100 for Low resolution 100m (ScanSAR)
  2. LN for Low Noise at Medium Resolution (ScanSAR).
  3. SC50 for Medium Resolution at 50m (ScanSAR)
  4. SD for Ship Detection at Medium Resolution (ScanSAR).
  5. SC30 for Medium Resolution at 30m (ScanSAR)
  6. 16M for Medium Resolution at 16m (StripMap)
  7. QP for Medium Resolution at quad-polarization (StripMap)
  8. 5M for High Resolution 5m (StripMap)
  9. 3M for Very High Resolution 3m (StripMap)
  10. FSL for Very High Resolution (Spotlight)


Figure 2 - RCM Imaging modes (image credit: Canadian Space Agency)

More details and polarization options are reported in the below table (RW01):

Mode Res.



rng × az

Swath Width


Polarization Options
Low Resolution

100 m

100 8×1 500 (500) Yes Yes Yes
Medium Resolution

50 m

50 4×1 350 (600) Yes Yes Yes
High PRF

50 m

50 4 × 1 350 Yes Yes No
High Incidence

50 m

50 4 × 1 133 Yes Yes No
Medium Resolution 30 m 30 2×2 125 (350) Yes Yes Yes
Medium Resolution

16 m

16 1×4 30 (350) Yes Yes Yes
High Resolution

5 m

5 1 30 (500) Yes Yes Yes
Very High Resolution

3 m

3 × 3 @35o 1 20 (500) Yes Yes Yes
Low Noise 100 4×2 350 (600) Yes Yes
Ship Detection var. 5×1 350 (350) Yes Yes
Spotlight 1 × 3


1 20 (350)

[5 km in az]

Yes Yes
Quad-Polarization 9 1 20 (250)

Processing levels

RCM SAR detected products are given as: Ground-range detected (GRD), and Geocoded detected data (GCD).

Data distribution

RCM Ground Range Detected (GRD) data is provided to the Charter within a compressed archive containing:

  • the RCM manifest file, given as Extensible Markup Language (XML) file (product.xml) under the “metadata” subfolder,

  • SAR GRD images at each polarization under the “imagery” subfolder,


  • Map overlay (mapOverlay.kml), product preview (productPreview.html) and scene quicklook in PNG and TIF (e.g. productOverview.png).

Reference Websites

RW01 - RCM technical characteristics website

RW02 - CSA official website