The Systems group at C-CORE is tasked with the development of novel RF systems that are used to support earth observation activities for its clients both internally and externally. The team is engaged with the creation of next generation technologies for use in both space and ground systems. Current team focus is on supporting the current and pending satellite missions for the CSA and ESA through the development of calibration transponder systems and concept development for next generation technologies.

Calibration Transponders

C-CORE has developed a number of precision radar calibration transponders, supporting some of the most important Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite missions undertaken by the Department of National Defence (DND), the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the European Space Agency (ESA). The calibration transponders are an integral part of these missions, ensuring that the radar instruments remain in good condition from the beginning to the end of their service life. Transponder developments include:


C-band SAR calibrator designed and built for ESA to support the Sentinel-1 SAR mission. Transponders in service.


P-band SAR calibrator designed and built for ESA to support the Biomass SAR mission. Work is ongoing with completion expected by the end of 2023.


C-band SAR calibrator built for the Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC), the research arm of DND, in support of the RADARSAT-2 SAR mission. This calibrator included a specialized Ground-Moving Target Indicator mode specific to this mission.

Through the course of these developments C-CORE has become one of the world’s leading companies in supplying specialized calibration transponders for satellite SAR missions.

Technology Development

C-CORE is an active participant in CSA and ESA technology development programs aimed at developing the next generation of innovations needed for future missions and endeavors. Advancing technologies from an early Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 1-2 to TRL 3,4 and higher is a strength of the Systems team. The team has been doing work to support these developments for over 20 years. Activities include:

  • New mission concept development;
  • Feasibility assessments,
  • Modelling and analysis;
  • Breadboarding;
  • Prototyping; and
  • Development of Technology Roadmaps.

C-CORE is currently working on the feasibility of a new concept aimed specifically at doing ice thickness measurement from space. The work will develop the concept and establish preliminary feasibility for space deployment.