TanDEM-X Blog

Second and third mission days – Neustrelitz ground station receives first test data

24.06.2010

After the launch night, where everything worked out so perfectly, we have continued in the same way over the last two days. After we – that is, of course, both shifts working alternately – had tested the various elements of the attitude and orbit control system, we began with the start up of the instruments. The various elements of the instruments (from electronics to the actual radar) have each been turned on individually; then, internal test routines were run and, after testing, the units were switched off again. Analysis showed that, in every case, all was well and nothing stood in the way of the activation of the complete radar. read more

Shift work in the control room

22.06.2010

As Mission Operations Director at the Space Operations Center in Oberpfaffenhofen, I am responsible for operation of TanDEM-X satellite. The first few days after the launch are always the most tense, because you obviously cannot know whether the satellite has weathered the launch well. To cover this phase as effectively as possible, we work the first week in shifts around the clock – to be ready, just in case. In this and the next few blog posts, I will report on the atmosphere and duties in the control room. read more

TanDEM-X Blog

‘The baby cries!’ We have a satellite in space …!

21.06.2010

But first things first – here the events of the first 100 minutes: L +00:00:00 (04:14:03 CEST) ‘Lift off’ – the Dnepr is ejected from its silo by a gas generator and the launcher’s engines ignite to begin the flight into orbit in a southerly direction. read more

TanDEM-X Blog

Intensity picking up

21.06.2010 | posted by Manuela Braun

This place, the German Aerospace Center at DLR Oberpfaffenhofen (close to Munich) has a serious trekkie air. As you walk into the building where the action is tonight, chairs and shiny lights have been set up. This is where the infotainment programme will be streamed live. But take a couple of turns around nondescript corridors, and you’re on the bridge — they actually call it that (hence the trekkie reference). read more

Mission Control Center in Baikonur up and running

18.06.2010 | posted by Michael Schmidhuber

Now it is time for me to report for you as well. I am the representative of the German Space Operations Center, GSOC, in Oberpfaffenhofen, and it is my job to ensure timely transmission of critical information during the launch. I flew from Munich on Monday and have been here for a couple of days now. There is already quite a bit to see and do. We saw the next batch of crew leaving for the ISS boarding buses to the launch site. Hermann Berg has already written about the Soyuz launch and the latest activities with TanDEM-X. My first assignment was yesterday, when the Mission Control Center (MCC) was put into operation. read more

Masskottchen

TanDEM-X will be swallowed by a crocodile

11.06.2010

As our loyal readers already know, the TanDEM-X satellite is installed in the launcher’s upper stage and ready for transport. The Dnepr rocket is fuelled and waiting in the launch silo a few miles away. But how does the upper stage get to the launcher? Using a special vehicle, naturally. read more

Gruppe vor Space-Head-Modul

Packed and ready for dispatch!

11.06.2010

We did it! The new German radar satellite TanDEM-X is packed and prepared for dispatch – the upper stage of the launcher with its precious contents stands ready. This is the result of impressive team performance. A group picture of all those who have worked towards this goal in recent days will not go amiss here. read more

The 'square' has to fit into the round!

10.06.2010

Yesterday was all about fitting the 'square' (the TanDEM-X satellite) into the round (the upper stage of the launcher). With these cross sections, TanDEM-X proves that the old German football saying about the round having to go into the square is not invariably true. Well, at least in space... read more

TanDEM-X: An impression in pictures

08.06.2010

A short, but very up-to-date report, prepared during our lunch break. The TanDEM-X satellite was lifted out of its mechanical handling system and placed temporarily on a tripod. read more

TanDEM-X

Integration of TanDEM-X with the launcher begins!

08.06.2010

I have now settled myself in Baikonur and become acquainted with everyday issues. As of last Tuesday, I have replaced my colleague Michael Bartusch as the project management representative of the space agency here at the launch site. I will be reporting about the TanDEM-X satellite (TDX) on this blog up until the launch. read more

A long test day begins

26.05.2010

Today, with the commencement of the Abbreviated Functional Test, the final checkout of the radar instrument began. The team is now complete - travelling yesterday from Moscow, additional colleagues from Astrium and the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) arrived at just the right time. For most of them this is not their first stay here in Baikonur - they previously worked on TerraSAR-X and the facility and the working environment are familiar to them. read more

The final checkout begins

25.05.2010

The fueling of the TanDEM-X satellite with hydrazine was completed on Saturday 22 May. This potentially hazardous operation was performed successfully by Astrium. Following this, the satellite was packed into its container and transported from the fueling station back to the integration facitity. After the arrival of new personnel from Germany on Tuesday, the final checkout of the satellite bus and instruments will start in the middle of this week. read more

Safety first in the fuelling hall

20.05.2010

TanDEM-X has left the integration facility for its reaction control system tank to be filled with hydrazine over the next few days. To do this, the satellite has been moved to the fuelling station as was reported earlier. Fuelling is a dangerous job, because the propellant used is quite toxic. When you enter the fuelling hall, the sign over the entrance reminds everyone to not forget the dangers. Translated, it reads, "Regardless of how urgent your work is, safety comes first." This is a reference to the devastating Nedelin fuelling catastrophe here in Baikonur in 1960, which took 126 lives. read more