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CHORUS – The Next Generation Earth Observation Mission from MDA

MDA launches a new corporate identity to highlight soaring space ambitions (CNW Group/MDA)

MDA, a leading provider of advanced technology and services to the rapidly-expanding global space industry, reveals that its next generation commercial Earth observation (EO) mission will be named CHORUS. The company also announced that CHORUS will initially include C-band and X-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellites.

A collaborative multi-sensor constellation, CHORUS will bring together multiple diverse and unique perspectives in harmony, opening the aperture and the art of the possible to provide a new level of real-time insight about our planet. CHORUS builds on the strong heritage of the RADARSAT program and brings forward innovative new technologies and operations concepts to deliver a significantly enhanced capability.

The powerful C-band SAR satellite will provide broad area coverage in concert with a smaller trailing X-band SAR satellite for higher resolution data collection and Near Real-Time (NRT) cross-cueing day or night and in all weather conditions. The X-band satellite will fly in the same mid-inclination orbit with the identical ground track as the MDA-built C-band SAR satellite.

By collecting and integrating data from the individual satellites, CHORUS will provide the most extensive radar imaging capacity available on the market in one system, ranging from industry leading broad area coverage with a 700km-wide swath to sub-metre very high resolution spotlight images.

In keeping with RADARSAT heritage, CHORUS will showcase unique capability for maritime surveillance and other time-critical applications, such as land intelligence and disaster response. This NRT capability will be enabled through fast-tasking for tactical operations and direct downlinks to a global network of cloud-enabled ground stations.

Responding to customer needs, MDA will advance a new commercial vision to bring multiple capabilities and sensors together as one. The unique CHORUS mission will be scalable and able to incorporate and integrate multiple additional collaborative space-based or terrestrial sensors and technology.

With core C-band and X-band sensors operating in a unique mid-inclination orbit, CHORUS will support higher imaging frequency between the mid-latitude areas of the northern and southern hemispheres. With tipping and cueing techniques, higher imaging performance, more imaging time per orbit, fast-tasking, faster delivery timelines and NRT data exploitation aided by machine-learning and artificial intelligence, CHORUS will offer advanced, innovative and disruptive Earth observation services, including:

• Protection of national security and sovereignty by providing critical time sensitive data and intelligence on maritime and land activities;

• Detection of illegal activities such as overfishing, deforestation, or bilge water dumping;

• Monitoring of crops, critical infrastructure, transportation corridors, coastal erosion and the effects of climate change;

• Provision of timely information to support humanitarian aid disaster response in response to floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, volcanoes and marine oil spills; and

• Routine systematic observations for a variety of applications natural resources, industrial and geographic applications including agriculture, forestry, mining and exploration activities.

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