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We assess the performance of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) compact polarimetry architectures based on mixed basis measurements, where the transmitter polarization is either circular or orientated at 45°(π/4), and the receivers are at horizontal and vertical polarizations with respect to the radar line of sight. An original algorithm is proposed to reconstruct the full polarimetric (FP) information from this architecture. The performance assessment is twofold: it first concerns the level of information preserved in comparison with FP, both for point target analysis and crop fields classification, using L-band SIRC/XSAR images acquired over Landes forest and Jet Propulsion Laboratory AIRSAR images acquired over Flevoland. Then, it addresses the space implementation complexity, in terms of processed swath, downloading features, power budget, calibration, and ionospheric effects. The polarization uniqueness in transmission of this mixed basis mode, hereafter referred to as the π/4 mode, maintains the standard lower pulse repetition frequency operation and hence maximizes the coverage of the sensor. Because of the mismatch between transmitter and receiver basis, the power budget is deteriorated by a factor of 3 dB, but it can partly be compensated.