Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Also Known As: TanDEM-X
Parent System: TerraSAR-X
Initial Operational Capability (IOC): 2007
Total Production: 2
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Description: The TerraSAR-X is a private public partnership (PPP) venture consisting of a satellite designed to monitor Earth for scientific and commercial purposes in all-weather conditions. EADS Astrium in Germany will conduct the final integration with the aim to launch the satellite in the Spring of 2006. From April 2006 and standing on an orbit of 500 kilometers of altitude passing over the poles at every rotation the TerraSAR-X satellite will deliver Earth observation data of new quality for both commercial and scientific applications.
The satellite has been built on an octagonal structure about 5.2 meters long and 2.2 meters in diameter. The launching weight is around 1,000 kilograms including its radar instrument. The active radar antenna is 4.8 meters long and 0.8m wide. The active antenna coupled with the satellite orbit ensures that the observation system is able to image any point on earth within three days. The Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) operates in three modes: spotlight mode, strip-map mode and scan SAR mode.
In spotlight mode the SAR antenna covers a 5-10 by 10 kilometers area with the maximum resolution of one meter. In strip-map mode the observation system sweeps an are of 30 kilometers by a maximum of 1,500 kilometers long with a resolution of three meters. In scan SAR mode the antenna uses a 16 meters resolution to sweep a corridor of 100 kilometers wide and a maximum length of 1,500 kilometers. Additionally, an experimental mode allows to divide the antenna in two independent parts of each other to identify moving ground objects/targets such as ships or cars.
The TerraSAR-X is a German project being implemented by EADS Astrium GmbH and DLR/German Aerospace Center in Cologne, Germany. The project has been developed to fill the gap of private sector's requirements, which were not fully met by existing Earth observation satellites. That's the reason why TerraSAR-X carries a Synthetic Aperture Radar operating in the X-band which supplies high resolution imagery, day and night, in all-weather conditions.
Infoterra GmbH, a wholly owned subsidiary of EADS Astrium, will be responsible for commercial exploitation and marketing activities. Currently the commercial applications envisaged for TerraSAR-X are: infrastructure planning, generation of topographic maps, location of mineral resources, and several applications in support of agriculture and forestry. DLR will take charge of scientific use for the Earth observation satellite such as ecology, geology, hydrology and oceanography.
It is also expected that national security forces, disaster relief organizations, and the armed forces of the European countries rely progressively more on this kind of space-based assets. Which opens new opportunities for the TerraSAR-X Earth Observation satellite. The total cost of developing, manufacturing and launching the satellite is approximately €130 million ($160 million). The data gathered by the SAR X-band sensor will be stored aboard and the transmitted to DLR ground control station at Neustrelitz, Germany. Mission control will be carried out by German Space Operations Centre (GSOC) in Oberpfaffenhofen.
DLR is also studying the possibility to build a second TerraSAR-X satellite which will allow two satellites to perform together referred to as TanDEM-X configuration. Both satellites working together will form a larger radar interferometer generating stereoscopic pictures with less than two meters of height resolution.
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