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Satellite Missions Catalogue

SABIA-Mar (Argentine-Brazilian Satellites for Environmental Information of the Sea)

Last updated:Jul 4, 2024





Ocean colour/biology


Multi-purpose imagery (ocean)


SABIA-Mar (Argentine-Brazilian Satellites for Environmental Information of the Sea) is a planned dual satellite mission jointly operated by the Argentine and Brazilian Space Agencies, CONAE and AEB. The two Sun-synchronous satellites will obtain crucial time-based data of the oceanic biosphere and its response to human activity, as well as to help researchers develop marine prediction and management systems.

Quick facts


Mission typeEO
Mission statusPlanned
Measurement domainOcean
Measurement categoryOcean colour/biology, Multi-purpose imagery (ocean)
Instrument typeImaging multi-spectral radiometers (vis/IR)

SABIA-Mar satellite illustration (Image credit: CONAE)



Mission Capabilities

SABIA-MAR will measure Ocean Colour and Sea Surface Temperature to derive information on variable marine systems, ocean productivity, carbon cycling, and biodiversity. The satellites will initially conduct a Coastal-Regional Mission, mapping South America up to 650 km offshore and surrounding inland waters, followed by a Global Mission to ascertain open ocean data.

The SABIA-Mar 1 satellite and payload are being assembled by the aerospace contractor INVAP S.E. The satellite's payload module houses three sensors named VIS-NIR (Visible - Near Infrared), NIR-SWIR (NIR - Short-wave Infrared), and TIR (Thermal Infrared), each covering the respective spectra, and MAC, a panchromatic imager providing atmospheric corrections and VIS/NIR redundancy.

SABIA-Mar 2 is planned to house a Global Multispectral CCD Camera to measure open ocean coverage at a 1100 m spatial resolution, as well as a Regional CCS multispectral camera for coastal region coverage at a 200 m resolution. The mission will also include a Small-Sized Telescope camera (SST) and a land imaging camera. 

Performance Specifications

SABIA-Mar will fly on a Sun-synchronous orbit of km in altitude with a 99.8 minute period, a local time of descending node at 10:20 AM, and a two-day revisit period.

VIS/NIR will observe optical reflectance across 11 spectral bands at a 1496 km swath. The same swath width is seen by NIR/SWIR across six spectral bands, and TIR will make observations across two bands with an 800 km swath. Each sensor has a 90° field of vision (FOV).

For the Global mission, SABIA-Mar will feed data through VIS-NIR imaging during daytime. Geographical coverage will be provided at 800 m spatial resolution spanning 140° ± 70° latitude. The Coastal/Regional scenario will receive VIS-NIR/NIR-SWIR/MAC imaging during daytime, TIR imaging continuously, and MAC panchromatic imaging during night. The sensors will image coastlines to offshore and inland waters, at a spatial resolution of 200 m. Monitoring of Vitória-Trindade Ridge and Malvinas Islands regions are expected to extend up to 1000 km offshore.

Space and Hardware Components

The Argentine SABIA-Mar 1 is a 2 m x 2 m x 2 m satellite with an approximate mass of 650 kg. In 2023, the satellite entered Phase D of assemblage and testing. A launch vehicle is yet to be selected and the process was in Phase 2 of assessing proposals from 12 launch companies in 2017.

SABIA-Mar 2 is expected to hold a service module of dry mass 292 kg with power budget 304 W and a payload module of 219 kg with power budget 260 W.


SABIA-Mar (Argentine-Brazilian Satellites for Environmental Information of the Sea) is a dual satellite joint mission between the agencies of Argentina, CONAE (National Space Activities Commission of Argentina) and Brazil, AEB (Brazilian Space Agency).

Formerly known as SAC-E (Scientific Application Satellite - E), the satellite will fly in a sun-synchronous orbit, with a goal to revisit global coastal and regional inland waters and to ascertain environmental changes and impacts over time. 1) 2)

The mission originates from the growing need to monitor the changing oceans and inshore South American waters due to anthropogenic pollution. The two satellites will obtain data for two primary studies. A focus lies on Ocean Colour data and a secondary lens on Sea Surface Temperature, providing information on variable marine systems, ocean productivity, carbon cycling, and biodiversity. These will be studied under the two mission objectives. First, a ‘Coastal-Regional Mission’, where the satellites will image South American inland waters and its coast, up to 650 km offshore. The second ‘Global Mission’ seeks to collect global open ocean data.

The instruments onboard the satellites will measure top-of atmosphere reflectance across 17 spectral bands to generate a data bank on normalised water-leaving radiance, chlorophyll concentration, photosynthetically available radiation, diffuse attenuation coefficient, fluorescence line height, and turbidity. The cameras will also image data concerning phytoplankton production, change in water quality, oceanic and continental algal blooms, and coastal sediment dynamics. With publicly available data, SABIA-Mar will provide a holistic report on the ocean’s health, which can be implemented in marine studies and environmental management plans. 3) 4)



SABIA-Mar 1 under development by the aerospace contractor INVAP S.E. (Investigación Aplicada, "applied research”) with the guidance of CONAE. The satellite measures 2 m x 2 m x 2 m, with an approximate mass of 650 kg, and a five year design life. Once in orbit, the satellite will deploy two solar panels, increasing the width of the satellite to 8.7 m x 1.9 m. 5) 6)

Figure 1: SABIA-Mar 1 satellite (Image credit: CONAE)


While SABIA-Mar 1 is prepared by Argentina, SABIA-Mar 2 lies under the jurisdiction of Brazil’s Space Agency (AEB), for integration onto their Multi-Mission Platform (MMP) satellite bus.

The primary payload onboard SABIA-Mar 2 is a Global Multispectral CCD Camera that will image the open ocean at 1100 m spatial resolution, paired with a Regional CCS multispectral camera for coastal region coverage at 200 m in resolution. The secondary payload will include a Small-Sized Telescope camera (SST) and a land imaging camera. 
SABIA-Mar 2 is expected to consist of a service and payload module, with respective masses of 292 kg and 219 kg, and power budgets of 304 W and 260 W.  7) 

Figure 2: SABIA-Mar 2 satellite (Image credit: CONAE)


SABIA-Mar will fly on a Sun-synchronous orbit of 702 km in altitude with a 99.8 minute period, a local time of descending node at 10:20 AM, and a two-day revisit period. 8)

Figure 3: SABIA-Mar 1 revisit frequency visualised by banded global zones. (Image credit: CONAE) 

The satellite will operate on a 9-day cycle, within which days are divided into revisiting regions according to mission objectives. 

Mission Status

  • April 24-28, 2023: SABIA-Mar 1 passes Mission Critical Design Review conducted by CONAE. Satellite enters Phase D, allowing assemblage, integration and testing to begin. 6) 9) 

  • October 3-5, 2022: Satellite unit and subunit parts undergo analysis by CONAE and INVAP, also reviewing flight segment capabilities. 10) 

  • April 16-18, 2018: SABIA-Mar passes initial Critical Design Review and begins construction. 

  • January 2017: SABIA-Mar 1 mission update reports that launch segment proposals were received by 12 companies and entered Phase 2 of evaluation. 9) 

  • April 6-8, 2016: SABIA-Mar 1 passes Preliminary Design Phase (Phase B).

Sensor Complement

SABIA-Mar 1 carries four different imaging sensors that together cover 17 spectral bands across the infrared, visible, and ultraviolet wavelengths. The payload module houses three sensors named VIS-NIR (Visible - Near Infrared), NIR-SWIR (NIR - Short-wave Infrared), and TIR (Thermal Infrared), each covering the respective spectra, and MAC, a panchromatic imager providing atmospheric corrections and VIS/NIR redundancy. Each sensor has a 90° field of view. 11) 12)

The data access portal for the SABIA-Mar 1 mission will be publicly available on CONAE’s website.

VIS-NIR Camera

This camera will operate over 11 spectral bands between wavelengths of 412 - 865 nm. Under the Global mission, it will image over sunlit hours with an 800 m spatial resolution, as well as making 200 m resolution observations to supplement the Coastal-Regional mission. 

Applications of VIS-NIR observations for SABIA-Mar include dissolved organic matter, chlorophyll related studies, turbidity, atmospheric corrections over open water, aerosol altitude, and water vapour. 


The NIR-SWIR camera will cover spectral six bands across the wavelength range of 750 - 1610 nm, at 400 m spatial resolution. Data will only feed into the Coastal-Regional Scenario. NIR-SWIR data applies to atmospheric corrections, turbidity, cloud altitude screening, and molecular absorption.

Thermal Infrared Camera (TIR)

The TIR camera will cover two spectral bands between 10 800 (10.8 μm) - 11 800 nm (11.8 μm) and is capable of imaging during the day and night, feeding data into the Coastal-Regional mission to monitor coastal and inland waters.

Multi-Angle multispectral Camera (MAC)

MAC will provide high-sensitivity panchromatic imaging across 4 bands between 400 - 700 nm. With a 700 km swath width and 400 m spatial resolution, the camera provides NIR-SWIR atmospheric corrections and redundancy for the VIS-NIR bands. The imager will supplement observations from the three above sensors while providing a number of value-add observations supporting surveillance and navigation, fisheries and agriculture, ocean health and dynamics, emergency responses, and climate change monitoring. 13)

Table 1: SABIA-Mar Payload Module imaging specifications
SensorSwath width (km)Spectral bandCentral wavelength (nm)Regional Spatial resolution (m)Global Spatial resolution (m)
Figure 4: Compact payload module CAD model, highlighting the four imaging sensors aboard SABIA-Mar (Image credit: CONAE)


To determine and quantify sources of space radiation, a Liulin-type spectrometry-dosimetry instrument will be deployed. It will identify galactic cosmic rays and bremsstrahlung radiation, energetic protons, and relativistic electrons in the South Atlantic anomaly region and the the outer radiation belt. These observations will quantify space weather as well as gauge the mission’s exposure to radiation over its lifetime. The Liulin-AR is a miniature 10 x 40 x 20 mm single PIN (positive-intrinsic-negative) diode of only 92 g in mass, which uses pulse analysis to obtain a deposited energy spectrum. 14)

Data Collection System (DCS)

The data collection system of SABIA-Mar is an Ultra High Frequency (UHF) receiver that communicates data with ground stations. DCS is compatible with Argos, a satellite ground system that attains, processes and disseminates gathered data. 15)

Austral GNSS Receiver (AGR-T)

SABIA-Mar is equipped with a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receiver which enables smooth satellite positioning, velocity and time data to be received by ground stations. Developed by La Plata university laboratory SENyT (Electronic Systems for Navigation and Telecommunications), the AGR-T aims to increase the reliability of GNSS receivers used in low-Earth orbit missions and will be compatible with the onboard computer. 16)

Ground Segment

The mission will be managed between CONAE’s centres for Telemetry, Tracking and Command (TT&C), Payload, Control, and Mission operations. The Telecommand (TC) and Housekeeping Telemetry (HKTM) stations will receive S-band downlink data while the Payload Station will receive downlinked raw payload data in X-band. Foreign stations may also be set up to provide CONAE services to other countries. End users and Science research teams can acquire data through the main Mission Centre. 11)


Figure 5: SABIA-Mar Ground segment network schematic (Image credit: CONAE)


1) SABIA-Mar. Wikiwand. Accessed April 24, 2024, URL:

2) SABIA-Mar 1 (SAC E). Gunter’s Space Page. Accessed April 24, 2024.

3) Frouin (ESUSPI 2018): Algorithm Development (Photosynhetically Available Radiation, Atmospheric Correction) in Support of the SABIA-Mar Ocean-Color Mission. NASA. Accessed April 24, 2024.,%20Atmospheric%20Correction)%20in%20Support%20of%20the%20SABIA-Mar%20Ocean-Color%20Mission

4) A view into the SABIA-MAR satellite mission - TIB AV-Portal. Accessed April 27, 2024. URL:

5) WMO OSCAR  |  Satellite: SAC-E/SABIA-MAR B. Accessed April 24, 2024. URL:

6) ANIMUS, Diagonal I. Construction of SABIA-Mar 1 begins. INVAP - Investigación Aplicada. Published April 27, 2018. Accessed April 24, 2024. URL:

7) SABIA-Mar 2. Gunter’s Space Page. Accessed April 24, 2024. URL:

8) WMO OSCAR  |  Satellite: SAC-E/SABIA-MAR A. Accessed June 3, 2024.URL:

9) Luz verde para la Misión SABIA-Mar. Published May 3, 2023. Accessed April 27, 2024.URL:

10) Revisión de hitos constructivos entre CONAE e INVAP para la misión SABIA-Mar. Published October 17, 2022. Accessed April 24, 2024.URL:

11) Rabolli M, Torrusio S, Caruso D. SABIA-Mar Mission Status Update 2017. Presented at: January 2017. URL:

12) Chamon MA. The SABIA-Mar Mission. Presented at: January 26, 2010.URL:

13) Tauro CB. SABIA-Mar Satellite Mission: Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space COPUOS. Presented at: February 15, 2022.URL:

14) Liulin-AR spectrometer for radiation environment observation on S | 9361. Accessed April 24, 2024.URL:

15) Tauro CB. Mission Critical Design Review. Presented at: April 24, 2023.URL:

16) Scillone G. Austral GNSS Receiver CDR Completed. SENyT | Electronic Systems for Navigation and Telecommunications. Published September 30, 2023. Accessed June 3, 2024. URL:

17) Tauro CB. SABIA-Mar Mission Update 2022. Presented at: June 27, 2022. URL: