TanDEM-X Blog

Baptism of fire for the satellite formation

19.10.2010

Last Thursday, the two German radar satellites of the TanDEM-X formation finally reached their operational orbit configuration, with only a few hundred metres separating them. In this configuration, they act as a unique radar interferometer in space. The next day, on Friday evening, the instruments were switched on, after many careful checks, to acquire the world's first Digital Elevation Model (DEM) data using a free-flying bistatic Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite formation. That same night, the jointly acquired data were received and processed by our operational processing chain. read more

The satellites have 'eye contact'

15.10.2010 | posted by Ralph Kahle

This is the moment we have been anticipating for a long time; TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X finally have 'eye contact'. The final manoeuvre to adjust the close formation was performed on 13 October. Now, the two satellites are orbiting at a distance of less than 400 metres from one another. read more

Umlaufbahnen der Radarsatelliten

"Everybody waltz!"

12.10.2010

"Everybody waltz!" – this is the invitation to dance at the annual Vienna Opera Ball. This phrase is now applicable to the TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X satellites, because as of yesterday the 'dance floor' is open and close formation flight has begun. Upon successful completion of the final tests, permission to commence the now imminent mission phase was granted by a panel of experts at the conclusion of the Formation Flight Reviews. read more

Brasília

TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X 'chatting' for the first time

27.08.2010

Even though the 'chit chat' between the satellites has so far consisted of no more than the exchange of synchronisation signals – "Hello, here I am!" – that is been all that was needed for the first simultaneous imagery to be captured by TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X. Since 22 July 2010, TerraSAR-X has been flying ahead of TanDEM-X at a distance of just 20 kilometres, in a formation defined for test purposes and which also affords scope for a special series of radar experiments. They have now completed the first ever experiment with bistatic radar involving two satellites flying together in formation. read more

The face of the Earth

20.08.2010

For a month now, we have been acquiring altitude models with the TanDEM-X and TerraSAR-X satellite pair. Already, over 1000 products have come out of our operational processing chain. Alongside many test images, some of the data also give an insight into how humankind has shaped the surface of the Earth – and how the highs and lows around them have determined the course of their lives. read more

Processing of first TanDEM-X data received at Inuvik

19.08.2010

Erhard Diedrich, in charge of the building of the Inuvik satellite station, returned from Canada with his colleagues, a happy man. The inauguration on 10 August was not only moving, but also marked the end of a successful first checkout phase. Over 300 passes of data have been acquired since April this year, among them 60 from the TanDEM-X satellite. read more

TanDEM-X answers its first call for crisis assistance

06.08.2010

Satellite data is an indispensable tool for quickly assessment of the situation in cases of natural or environmental disasters and for guiding emergency teams on ground. DLR's 'Center for Satellite Based Crisis Information' (Zentrum für satellitengestützte Kriseninformation; ZKI) and many other international organizations have been using the German radar satellite TerraSAR-X for three years to rapidly obtain reliable data in all weather conditions for such crisis situations. Now, our new satellite, TanDEM-X, has also provided assistance for the first time in a crisis – gathering information on the flood catastrophe in Pakistan. We were able to help not only with radar images but we also used TanDEM-X for interferometry in formation with TerraSAR-X for the first time. This has provided a more reliable technique to map floods instantaneously and more accurately, in one pass and without the need for archived data. read more

Höhendatensatz: Vulkan Longonot in Kenia

TanDEM-X ground segment kicks off!

02.08.2010

The successful setup of the 'wide' flight formation between the TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X satellites marked the beginning of the 'TerraSAR-X Add-On for Digital Elevation Measurements' mission in its literal sense: Now, with both satellites flying as a team – three seconds apart – and seeing the same region of the Earth's surface, tricky instrument commanding is no longer needed to acquire interferometric data sets. Ordering, planning and commanding of the synchronous acquisitions, as well as reception and, in particular, processing of the data sets from both satellites are performed completely automatically. read more

The first 3D experiment

22.07.2010

It was during a sleepless night, with hardly any drop in the midsummer temperatures, when the idea for a radar experiment with both satellites, TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X occurred: “What if we could prove that interferometry is possible with two satellites even before the final formation is reached?” read more

DLR Bodenstation Neustrelitz

Approach in orbit; busy times in Neustrelitz

16.07.2010

Tirelessly, TanDEM-X is acquiring data while moving ever closer to the TerraSAR-X satellite. As yet, the first flight formation is not set up and thus no interferometric processing is possible. All data received by the TanDEM-X ground station network are transferred to Neustrelitz, where they are processed into SAR images like the operational ones from TerraSAR-X. read more

Stress tests in space and rivers of sand

14.07.2010

As ground teams prepared for the formation flight of TanDEM-X and TerraSAR-X, TanDEM-X was put through its paces in the last week before approach. The instrument team ran a set of hot/cold tests to check the instrument’s performance limits by first allowing the radar system to cool down and then running it at full load. This was followed by tests in which a large number of randomly targeted radar images of the Earth’s surface were used to test the reliability of the reception and processing systems. The images acquired during these tests include a number of very puzzling pictures. read more

Art in space – or, how to set up a formation

12.07.2010 | posted by Ralph Kahle

On its launch date, 21 June 2010, roughly 16,000 kilometres separated TanDEM-X from its twin satellite, TerraSAR-X. Now, that distance has shrunk to just 2000 kilometres. The time has come for the relative movement between the two satellites to be slowed down, and for them to be set up for formation flying. To accomplish this, the Flight Dynamics Group at the German Space Operations Center (GSOC) will carry out a total of 10 orbital manoeuvres over the next eight days. read more

TanDEM-X High Resolution Spotlight Preview

TanDEM-X's first zoom and wide-angle images

30.06.2010

Now that in addition to control and mission planning, the Kiruna and Neustrelitz ground stations have also taken on important elements of the normal operation of the ground segments as part of commissioning, the various radar modes of the TanDEM-X are undergoing instrument and processing tests. This includes the high definition ‘Spotlight’ zoom mode and the ‘ScanSAR’ wide-angle mode. read more