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 perform a vital role in satellite commissioning activities and throughout the life of the mission. The transponders ensure that the radar instruments onboard are functioning properly after launch and through their operational service life. 



C-band SAR calibrator designed and built for ESA to support the Sentinel-1 SAR mission. C-CORE supplied three of the Sentinel-1 transponders to ESA where they are installed at three different locations around the Netherlands. All three units are remotely operated from a central location, performing automatic acquisitions during satellite overpasses based on pre-scheduled acquisition plans. The transponders receive signals from the satellite, process these signals using available calibration modes and returns a calibrated signal to the satellite. This information is then used by satellite operators to check that the instrument is in good working order. Sentinel-1 transponders have recently undergone refurbishment and are being put back into service in anticipation of the launch of Sentinel-1C.



C-CORE is currently in the final stages of completing a new P-band calibration transponder for ESA’s Biomass mission. This transponder is the first of it’s kind and will provide the mission operators with the critical information needed to ensure that the radar instrument on the satellite remain in good condition over it’s service life. The calibration transponder is installed at the ESA Deep Space Antenna facility at New Norcia in Western Australia. The Biomass Calibration Transponder uses a 5m array antenna mounted on a 2-axis positioner. The unit is enclosed in a radome protective structure. A precision reference target is an integral part of the system to ensure that the transponder continues to provide the high quality calibration signals required over its service life.

New Norcia Biomass Install


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