MDA announces CHORUS™ as the name of its next market-leading commercial Earth Observation mission

Media Release: December 14, 2021

The multi-sensor constellation will include C-band and X-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) capabilities

MDA Ltd. (TSX:MDA), a leading provider of advanced technology and services to the rapidly-expanding global space industry, announced today at the World Satellite Business Week event 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.


“The greatest moments in Earth exploration happen collaboratively, when diverse insights and information are united to create something bigger and more meaningful. With C-band SAR, we are able to find a needle in a haystack. With the addition of X-band data, we will be able to thread that needle. By pushing the envelope and creating flexibility to integrate additional data sources and sensors, we want others to join our CHORUS and help us change how and when we see the world.”

- Mike Greenley, Chief Executive Officer, MDA


CHORUS animated logo

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Serving the world from its Canadian home and global offices, MDA (TSX:MDA) is an international space mission partner and a robotics, satellite systems and geointelligence pioneer with a 50-year story of firsts on and above the Earth. With over 2,200 employees across Canada, the US and the UK, MDA is leading the charge towards viable Moon colonies, enhanced Earth observation, communication in a hyper-connected world, and more. With a track record of making space ambitions come true, MDA enables highly skilled people to continually push boundaries, tackle big challenges, and imagine solutions that inspire and endure to change the world for the better, on the ground and in the stars.





Amy MacLeod