RADARSAT Constellation

Long name RADARSAT Constellation
Short name RCM
Sensor type Synthetic-aperture radar (SAR)
Platform RADARSAT Constellation
Frequency 5.405 GHz
Band (wavelength) C (5.5 centimeters)
Polarization RH, RV (compact polarimetric), HH, HV, VH, VV (fully polarimetric)
Key file name (use to open data set) manifest.safe
Supported file name extensions manifest.safe, *.tif, *.xml, *.png, *.html
Data distributor  
Sections

Data product name and description
Distribution disk files
Returned data for supported format
References

Data product name and description

RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM) is a constellation of three C-band synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) satellites.

RCM supports a wide variety of imaging modes. The modes range from wide-area surveillance with 500-kilometer imaging swaths to spotlight modes with resolution of 1 meter in azimuth and 3 meters in range.

RCM satellites can acquire imagery in any of the following sensor modes:
  • Spotlight: The beam steers electronically to focus on the area of interest for a longer aperture time, which produces products in finer azimuth resolution.
  • Stripmap: SAR mode in which operation, beam elevation, and profile remain constant.
  • ScanSAR: Uses a combination of two or more single beams covering adjoining swaths. The beams are operated sequentially, each with a series of pulse transmissions and receptions, so that data is collected from a swath wider than possible with a single beam, which repeats in cycles.

Each supported acquisition mode is described in the following tables.

Note: The information provided herein is based on the data distributor's documentation cited under References.
Mode Swath width (km) Resolution (range x azimuth, m)* Polarization Description/notes

Spotlight
[FSL]

20 1.0 x 1.0

Single (HH or HV or VH or VV)
Dual-cross (HH or VV and HV)
Compact (RH and RV)

Spotlight
NESZ: -17dB

Very-High Resolution, 3 meters
[3M]

20 1.9 x 1.8

Single (HH or HV or VH or VV)
Dual-cross (HH or VV and HV)
Dual-copol (HH and VV)
Compact (RH and RV)

Stripmap
NESZ: -17dB

High Resolution, 5 meters
[5M]

30 ≈ 3.5 x 2.5

Single (HH or HV or VH or VV)
Dual-cross (HH or VV and HV)
Dual-copol (HH and VV)
Compact (RH and RV)

Stripmap
NESZ: -19dB

Quad-Polarization
[QP]

20 ≈ 6.5 x 2.9 Quad (HH and HV and VH and VV) Stripmap NESZ: -24dB

Medium Resolution, 16 meters
[16M]

30 ≈ 11.3 x 2.5

Single (HH or HV or VH or VV)
Dual-cross (HH or VV and HV)
Dual-copol (HH and VV)
Compact (RH and RV)

Stripmap
NESZ: -25dB

Medium Resolution, 30 meters [SC30] 125 ≈ 12.5 x 12.5 (GRD)

Single (HH or HV or VH or VV)
Dual-cross (HH or VV and HV)
Dual-copol (HH and VV)
Compact (RH and RV)

ScanSAR
Number of ScanSAR beams: 4
NESZ: -24dB

Medium Resolution, 50 meters
[SC50]

350 ≈ 20 x 20 (GRD)

Single (HH or HV or VH or VV)
Dual-cross (HH or VV and HV)
Dual-copol (HH and VV)
Compact (RH and RV)

ScanSAR
Number of ScanSAR beams: 8
NESZ: -22dB

Low Noise
[SCLN]

350 ≈ 40 x 40 (GRD)

Single (HH or HV or VH or VV)
Dual-cross (HH or VV and HV)
Compact (RH and RV)

ScanSAR
Number of ScanSAR beams: 10
NESZ: -25dB

Low Resolution, 100 meters
[SC100]

500 ≈ 40.0 x 40.0 (GRD)

Single (HH or HV or VH or VV)
Dual-cross (HH or VV and HV)
Dual-copol (HH and VV)
Compact (RH and RV)

ScanSAR
Number of ScanSAR beams: 12
NESZ: -22dB

Ship Detection
[SCSD]

Variable Variable

Single (HH or HV or VH or VV)
Dual-cross (HH or VV and HV)
Compact (RH and RV)

ScanSAR
Number of ScanSAR beams: 10

* Resolution is always single-look complex (SLC) unless noted otherwise.

The RCM image-product types are as described in the following table.

Processing level Acquisition mode Description/notes
SLC [SCSD], [FSL], [3M], [5M], [16M], [SC30], [SC50], [SCLN], [SC100], [QP] Georeferenced. Single look complex data in slant range.
GRC [3M], [5M], [16M], [QP] Georeferenced. Multilook complex data in ground range.
GRD [SCSD], [FSL], [3M], [5M], [16M], [SC30], [SC50], [SCLN], [SC100], [QP] Georeferenced. Multilook detected data in ground range.
GCC [3M], [5M], [16M], [QP] Geocoded to a map projection. Complex data. Data commonly projected to Universal Transverse Mercator Projection (UTM) or Universal Polar Stereographic (UPS) north of 84N or south of 80S.
GCD [FSL], [3M], [5M], [16M], [SC30], [SC50], [SCLN], [SC100], [QP]

Geocoded to a map projection. Detected data.
Data commonly projected to Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) or Universal Polar Stereographic (UPS) north of 84N or south of 80S.

MLC [SCSD], [SC30], [SC50], [SCLN], [SC100] Multi-Look slant range georeferenced Complex data.
About processing levels
  • SLC represents a SLant range, georeferenced Complex product.
    It is equivalent to a single-look complex product for RADARSAT-1 or RADARSAT-2).

  • GRD or GRC represent GRound range, georeferenced, Detected or Complex products.
    GRD is equivalent to an SGX, SCN, or SCW product for RADARSAT-1 or RADARSAT-2.

  • GCD or GCC represent GeoCoded Detected or Complex products.
    GCD is equivalent to an SSG or SPG product for RADARSAT-1 or RADARSAT-2.

  • MLC represent Multi-Look slant range Complex products.It is for dual Co-/Cross-Polarization1 or Compact Polarization which is a spatially averaged version of the SLC product condensed to a single multi-burst image of the covariance matrix elements. The covariance matrix elements consist of two real diagonal elements |xH|2 and |xV|2, and a complex off-diagonal element xH*conj(xV) where x is either Circular, H or V depending on the SLC product polarization setting and conj denotes the complex conjugate.

Distribution disk files

The RCM manifest file is an Extensible Markup Language (XML) file that contains information about the collection of files (except the manifest file itself) that comprise the product, the nature of each file and how the files relate to one another. Consider the file as a map of each RCM image product organized in four folders:
  • imagery
  • metadata
  • preview
  • support

The manifest file in an RCM image product complies with the SAFE Core specification […] and also complies with the recommendation for mission specialization […] to be compatible with the Sentinel-1 product. The manifest file applies to all RCM image products. Each RCM image product contains one manifest file.

Warning: Data sets for this sensor are organized in a specific folder structure on disk. GDB uses this structure and the file names to identify the data product type. Do not alter the folder structure or any file names prior to data ingestion to ensure the image data and auxiliary information are imported correctly.

You can open an RCM data set by selecting the manifest.safe file. You can also import the key file to a PCIDSK (.pix). For optimal processing, use the PCIDSK format.

If you are using a command-line application, specify the file name with a calibration type; for example:

../RCM2_OKCSM-TARG-35-0_PKPGS_TD_PR_GenIm_QP0_PT_1_QP26_20160417_011157_HH_VV_HV_VH_SLC/manifest.safe:Calibration Type:Sigma

Valid options include the following:
  • ~\ manifest.safe:Calibration Type:None
  • ~\ manifest.safe:Calibration Type:Sigma
  • ~\ manifest.safe:Calibration Type:Beta
  • ~\ manifest.safe:Calibration Type:Gamma

When opening an RCM data set, the files read by GDB are as described in the following table.

File name Format Required Description
manifest.safe XML Yes Key file name. Use to open data set.
<productId>_<polId>_<burstId>.tif GeoTIFF Yes Image data (imagery folder). <productId> corresponds to the product ID <polId> corresponds to the polarization ID <burstId> corresponds to the image-burst number starting from zero and incrementing by one from each burst to the next in order of acquisition
product.xml XML Yes Product metadata (metadata folder).

lutSigma_<polId>.xml
lutGamma _<polId>.xml
lutBeta _<polId>.xml

XML Yes Calibration lookup tables (metadata/calibration folder).
noiseLevels_<polId>.xml XML Yes

Noise file (metadata/calibration folder).
The noise file can be used to determine calibrated noise profiles that match the calibrated GRD data.

incidenceAngles.xml XML Yes Incidence angles file.

productOverview.tif
- or -
productOverview.png

TIFF or PNG Optional Thumbnail file.

Returned data for supported format

The following table describes the data structure after it is opened by GDB.

Note: The initial implementation is based on synthesized and pre-calibration data. Only GCD and GRD have been verified with data acquired after the RCM calibration and validation phase.
Data product Data returned Details

SLant range georeferenced complex (SLC)
Ground range georeferenced complex (GRC)

Single polarization
[FSL], [3M], [5M], [16M], [SC30], [SC50], [SCLN], [SC100], [SCSD]

1 x [C16S] raster channel (uncalibrated)
- or -
1 x [C32R] raster channel (calibrated)

1 x [GCP] ground control points
1 x [TEX] product annotation
1 x [ORB] orbit segment
1 x [BIN] rational function model from state vectors
1 x [ARR] incidence angle array

Data can be calibrated in sigma, gamma, or beta nought.

ScanSAR tiled products ([SC30], [SC50], [SCLN], [SC100]) are automatically assembled in raster channels when opened or ingested.

SLant range georeferenced complex (SLC)
Ground range georeferenced complex (GRC)

Dual polarization
-  and -
Compact polarization
[FSL], [3M], [5M], [16M], [SC30], [SC50], [SCLN], [SC100], [SCSD]

2 x [C16S] raster channels (uncalibrated)
- or -
2 x [C32R] raster channels (calibrated)

1 x [GCP] ground control points
1 x [TEX] product annotation
1 x [ORB] orbit segment
1 x [BIN] rational function model from state vectors
1 x [ARR] incidence angle array

Data can be calibrated in sigma, gamma, or beta nought.

ScanSAR tiled products ([SC30], [SC50], [SCLN], [SC100]) are automatically assembled in raster channels when opened or ingested.

SLant range georeferenced complex (SLC)
Ground range georeferenced complex (GRC)

Qual polarization [QP]

4 x [C16S] raster channels (uncalibrated)
- or -
4 x [C32R] raster channels (calibrated)

1 x [GCP] ground control points
1 x [TEX] product annotation
1 x [ORB] orbit segment
1 x [BIN] rational function model from state vectors
1 x [ARR] incidence angle array

Data can be calibrated in sigma, gamma, or beta nought.

Ground range georeferenced detected (GRD)

Single polarization
[FSL], [3M], [5M], [16M], [SC30], [SC50], [SCLN], [SC100], [SCSD]

1 x [16U] raster channel (uncalibrated)
- or -
1 x [32R] raster channel

1 x [GCP] ground control points
1 x [TEX] product annotation
1 x [ORB] orbit segment
1 x [BIN] rational function model
1 x [ARR] incidence angle array

Data can be calibrated in sigma, gamma, or beta nought.

Ground range georeferenced detected (GRD)

Dual polarization
- and -
Compact polarization
[FSL], [3M], [5M], [16M], [SC30], [SC50], [SCLN], [SC100], [SCSD]

2 x [16U] raster channels (uncalibrated)
- or -
2 x [32R] raster channels (calibrated)

1 x [GCP] ground control points
1 x [TEX] product annotation
1 x [ORB] orbit segment
1 x [BIN] rational function model
1 x [ARR] incidence angle array

Data can be calibrated in sigma, gamma, or beta nought.

Data not suitable for compact polarimetry analysis (requires complex data).

Ground range georeferenced detected (GRD)

Qual polarization
[QP]

4 x [16U] raster channels (uncalibrated)
- or -
4 x [32R] raster channels (calibrated)

1 x [GCP] ground control points
1 x [TEX] product annotation
1 x [ORB] orbit segment
1 x [BIN] rational function model
1 x [ARR] incidence angle array

Data can be calibrated in sigma, gamma, or beta nought.

Data not suitable for compact polarimetry analysis (requires complex data).

Geocoded complex (GCC)

Single polarization
[3M], [5M], [16M]

1 x [C16S] raster channel (uncalibrated)
- or -
1 x [C32R] raster channel (calibrated)

1 x [TEX] product annotation
1 x [ORB] orbit segment

Data can be calibrated in sigma, gamma, or beta nought.

Geocoded complex (GCC)

Dual polarization
- and -
Compact polarization
[3M], [5M], [16M]

2 x [C16S] raster channel (uncalibrated)
- or -
2 x [C32R] raster channel (calibrated)

1 x [TEX] product annotation
1 x [ORB] orbit segment

Data can be calibrated in sigma, gamma, or beta nought.

Geocoded complex (GCC)

Quad polarization
[QP]

4 x [C16S] raster channels(uncalibrated)
- or -
4 x [C32R] raster channels (calibrated)

1 x [TEX] product annotation
1 x [ORB] orbit segment

Data can be calibrated in sigma, gamma, or beta nought.

Geocoded detected (GCD)

Single polarization
[FSL], [3M], [5M], [16M], [SC30], [SC50], [SCLN], [SC100]

1 x [16U] raster channel (uncalibrated)
- or -
1 x [32R] raster channel (calibrated)

1 x [TEX] product annotation
1 x [ORB] orbit segment

Data can be calibrated in sigma, gamma, or beta nought.

Geocoded detected (GCD)

Dual polarization
- and -
Compact polarization
[FSL], [3M], [5M], [16M], [SC30], [SC50], [SCLN], [SC100]

2 x [16U] raster channels (uncalibrated)
- or -
2 x [32R] raster channels (calibrated)

1 x [TEX] product annotation
1 x [ORB] orbit segment

Data can be calibrated in sigma, gamma, or beta nought.

Data not suitable for compact polarimetry analysis (requires complex data).

Geocoded detected (GCD)

Quad polarization
[QP]

4 x [16U] raster channels (uncalibrated)
- or -
4 x [32R] raster channels (calibrated)

1 x [TEX] product annotation
1 x [ORB] orbit segment

Data can be calibrated in sigma, gamma, or beta nought.

Data not suitable for compact polarimetry analysis (requires complex data).

Multi-Look slant range georeferenced Complex (MLC)

Dual Co-/Cross-Pol or Compact Pol
[SCSD], [SCLN], [SC50], [SC50], [SC30]

2 x [16U] detected channels
1 x [C16S] complex channel
- or -
2 x [32R] detected channels
1 x [C32R] complex channels

1 x [GCP] ground control points
1 x [TEX] product annotation
1 x [ORB] orbit segment
1 x [BIN] rational function model from state vectors
1 x [ARR] incidence angle array

Data can be calibrated in sigma, gamma, or beta nought.

References

RADARSAT Constellation Mission, Image Product Format Definition. MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. RCM-SP-53-0419. Issue 2/3: March 17, 2017

RADARSAT Constellation Mission, Surveillance and Intelligence. MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd.

RADARSAT CONSTELLATION MISSION PRODUCT SPECIFICATION. Prepared for: Canadian Space Agency. Prepared by: MDA Systems Ltd.

For more information, go to: mdacorporation.com

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