CryoSat-2 is designed to acquire continuously while revolving around our planet, switching automatically to its three measurement modes according to a geographic mode mask:
Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) is operated over sea-ice areas and over some ocean basins and coastal zones.
SAR Interferometric (SARIn) mode is used over steeply sloping ice-sheet margins, over some geostrophic ocean currents and over small ice caps and areas of mountain glaciers. It is also used over some major hydrological river basins.
Low Resolution Mode (LRM) is operated over areas of the continental ice sheets, over oceans and over land not covered by other modes.
The geographical mask is converted into a weekly timeline of instrument commands by the mission planning system, taking into account the CryoSat reference orbit. Use following link for access to Geographical Mode Mask