Bringing high-res SAR Earth Observation imagery to the UK

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The Satellite Applications Catapult is leading the COSMO-SkyMed Radar Science and Innovation Research (CORSAIR) programme for the UK, which will provide access to the COSMO-SkyMed data for research and development (R&D) activities.

CORSAIR was developed in response to the contract awarded to the Catapult and Telespazio VEGA UK to install a ground system to order, receive and process high-resolution Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data from the Italian COSMO-SkyMed satellite mission constellation. A bilateral agreement between the UK Space Agency and Italian Space Agency, will allow, for the first time, COSMO-SkyMed data to be delivered straight to the UK for processing.

CORSAIR is open to any UK R&D activities looking to develop proof of concepts, demonstrators, prototypes or trials for scientific research, products or applications.

Stuart Martin, CEO of the Satellite Applications Catapult, said: “The COSMO-SkyMed constellation is equipped with SAR instruments, capable of operating in all visibility conditions at high-resolution, seeing through cloud and at night, enabling researchers to accumulate data over a wide area in a very short time. One of the key benefits of this programme is that it offers the UK research communities data acquisitions to develop new applications or services which can be used for commercial applications, as well as scientific research.”

Applications for CORSAIR data can be submitted at any time through the Catapult website. Application reviews will be assessed at three monthly intervals by an external evaluation team.

The COSMO-SkyMed system is a constellation of four identical SAR satellites owned by the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and the Italian Ministry of Defence, which is operated commercially by e-GEOS, an ASI/Telespazio company. Its data is used on a global basis for its near real-time applications, such as extreme weather impact assessment, environmental crisis management, and security monitoring both on and off shore.

For more information regarding CORSAIR, please visit