By continuing to use this site, you agree to the use of cookies. You can find out more by following this link Accept & Close ›
NovaSAR-S: Small satellite Synthetic Aperture Radar platform

NovaSAR-S: Small satellite Synthetic Aperture Radar platform

NovaSAR-S is a small Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) mission designed for low-cost programmes and optimised for shared launch opportunites.  The system baselines SSTL-300 avionics flying on NigeriaSat-2, with an imaging payload developed by the space borne SAR team at Airbus in Portsmouth, UK, and S-band solid state power amplifer technology. 

NovaSAR-S is designed to operate independently, or in a constellation that will maximise imaging opportunities and data.  A constellation of three NovaSAR-S satellites can image any point on the globe every day, regardless of daylight or weather conditions. 

The first NovaSAR-S platform is currently in manufacture at SSTL, part-funded by the UK government. 

NovaSAR-S spacecraft specifications:
Mass: 430kg
Number of phase centres: 18
Imaging frequency band: S-Band
Optimum orbit: 580km
Propulsion system: Xenon
Payload duty cycle: 2-4 minutes per orbit
Payload data memory: 544 GBytes
Downlink rate: 500Mbps
Design lifetime: 7 years
NovaSAR operates in 4 imaging modes:

ScanSAR mode:
Swath width: 100km
Resolution: 20m
Maritime mode:
Swath width: >400km
Resolution: 6m across track, 13.7m along track
Stripmap mode:
Swath width: 15-20km
6m resolution
ScanSAR wide mode:
Swath width: 140km
Resolution: 30m

SAR applications
  • Flooding
  • Disaster monitoring
  • Forestry
  • Martime mode - ship detection, monitoring and tracking, oil spill detection
  • Land cover use and classification
  • Crop monitoring and classification
  • Ice monitoring

NovaSAR wins an Innovation award from the IET, November 2013

Space radar exposes ocean activity


Satellite Data


UK Government part-funded

Synthetic Aperture Radar Earth observation



Launch Data

Launch Date:

Launch Site:



Related Links

NovaSAR brochure