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The CoReH2O mission focuses on spatially detailed observation of global snow, ice and water cycle parameters using a SAR at X- and Ku-bands in regions where snow and ice play a major role in the water and energy cycles as well as in biospheric processes. Two parallel industrial studies at phase 0 level have been awarded respectively to Astrium GmbH and Thales Alenia Space-Italy. This paper presents the resulting system concepts as elaborated by the industrial teams. The result of the phase 0 has been presented to the user community in January 2009 in Lisbon together with other Earth Explorer candidates for further down-selection. If successfully selected after phase 0 and phase A, CoReH2O will be launched during 2016.