Project Status of the Mission

RCM satellite aces SAR panel deployment test!

Credit: Canadian Space Agency

RCM satellite aces SAR panel deployment test!

This test, designed to make sure that the synthetic aperture radar (SAR) panel deploys properly once in orbit, is one of the few tests where components of the satellite move. Since the satellites are designed to operate in space, it can be tricky to have them move under the force of gravity on Earth. In this particular case, a custom gantry crane (Super Gantry Crane) holds the satellite's SAR panels and counterbalances their weight to mimic the microgravity environment of space.

The test was completed at MDA's Montreal facility.

See additional RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM) images in the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) image bank.

Requirements Definition (Phase A)

During Phase A, the system requirements were defined and include concept and technology development activities. Top-level concept designs were produced as well as preliminary cost and schedule.

During this phase, the User Requirements were confirmed. This permitted the development of the Mission Requirements Document and the definition of the overall mission concept to meet the user needs, and to produce the requirements for the system and the lower level sub-systems.

Preliminary Definition (Phase B)

During Phase B the design concept was refined and the preliminary design of the satellites completed. The CSA continued consultations with other Canadian Government Departments that have a vested interest in this space mission, to ensure that the design effectively responds to their requirements.

The RCM team also closely followed the ever-evolving developments in the international remote sensing community to identify potential synergies, recognizing that the mission could serve global initiatives that rely on data from advanced earth observation satellites.

Detailed Definition (Phase C)

The final design was approved in Phase C, which completes the design of all the RCM space segment sub-systems and establishes the implementation baseline. As driven by scheduling needs, production was carried out during this phase for certain components required in the subsequent phase. Preliminary design of the ground segment elements was also initiated. Phase C concluded with the Mission Critical Design Review accepted by the RCM stakeholders.

Production, Test, Launch and Commissioning (Phase D)

Phase D consists of the manufacturing, integration, and testing, up to the launch and on-orbit commissioning of the three identical spacecrafts. It also includes the manufacture, test, delivery and on-site acceptance test of all Ground Segment elements at their final locations, and delivery of Ground Segment operator training and operations documentation.

The national daily coverage and fast revisit capability offered by RCM will significantly increase SAR data acquisition from the current utilization of RADARSAT data by Government of Canada departments. Recognizing that the RCM concept is significantly different from previous RADARSAT missions and presents its own set of challenges (orbiting, data volume, imaging format and fast revisit capabilities) Phase D also includes an applications development plan to help federal government departments make optimum use of the data when the system becomes operational.