HJ-1-C is a SAR satellite owned by the Chinese Environment and Natural Disaster Monitoring constellation, and works together with the optical satellites HJ-1-A/B for monitoring environment and natural disasters. In this paper, the system design and characteristics of the first Chinese civil SAR satellite are described. In addition, the interface relation between SAR payload and platform is studied. Meanwhile, the data transmission capability, attitude, power, and temperature control that support SAR imaging are reviewed. Finally, the corresponding in-orbit verification results are presented.