The launch of Canada's RADARSAT-1 satellite on November 4, 1995, marked a significant advance in spaceborne microwave remote sensing and a major contribution toward creating a viable international market for remote sensing data. The satellite is equipped with a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and is the first radar-imaging satellite designed to meet the scientific and operational needs of remote sensing data users. In addition to a network of ground SAR data receiving stations, the satellite's onboard tape recorder allows global coverage. Compared to previous spaceborne radar imagers, RADARSAT-1 offers a wide choice of ground resolution, imaging swath width, and incident beam angle. Its ScanSAR beam with 500-km-wide imaging swath and 100-m resolution is well-suited for global- or regional-scale synoptic observations, and fine beam with 50-km-wide imaging swath and less than 10-m resolution is ideal for local, detailed studies.
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