SAOCOM (Argentinean Microwave Earth Observation Satellite) is a system made of two Earth Observation satellites from the Argentinean Space Agency, CONAE. They will both carry an L-band synthetic aperture polarimetric radar.
The main objective of the Earth observation SAOCOM satellites is the measurement of the soil moisture and applications in emergencies, such as detection of oil spills in the ocean and the monitoring of water during floods. It is a Project developed in collaboration with the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and integrates operationally the SIASGE (Italo-Argentine Satellite System for Emergency Management) with the Italian satellites COSMO- SkyMed.
The SAOCOM satellites series involves the development of active instruments operating in the microwaves range. It consists of the injection into orbit of two constellations, SAOCOM 1 and SAOCOM 2, where the second series shall incorporate technological advances obtained from the experience of the first series. Each constellation is made of two satellites, called A and B respectively which are basically similar, due to the need of obtaining an appropriate revisit.
The satellites of the SAOCOM 1 constellation are under development phase to be launched from 2017, with an estimated lifetime of at least 5 years for each satellite. Regarding the orbit, it is intended to obtain both global coverage and 16 days revisit for each satellite, resulting in 8 days for the constellation. The SAOCOM 1A and SAOCOM 1B share the same technical requirements of design, functionality and operability, so that its development is being conducted simultaneously resulting in two identical satellites.