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TECSAR is designated to be the first Israeli space-based synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite. The system design considerations and the programme status are presented. TECSAR is defined as a space-borne SAR satellite technology demonstration programme. The programme's purpose is to develop and evaluate the necessary technologies required to achieve high-resolution images combined with large area coverages. These results can be achieved by designing a multi-mode operation, including innovative system and subsystems designed to cope with the special operational requirements and the weight/volume constraints. The TECSAR payload belongs to a family of SAR payloads, developed and produced by ELTA Systems. However, because of the demanding requirements imposed by the potential users and the need to fit into the satellite lightweight bus, TECSAR is unique as far as space SAR is concerned and exhibits the best performances in certain parameters. Mission requirements and system design are described here. The authors focus on the payload and its subsystems and also mention the possibility of multi-polarisation imaging. The TECSAR satellite development phase was completed at the end of 2005.