TanDEM-X Blog | 30. July 2013 | posted by Ralph Kahle

Formation swapping - Comic about the TanDEM-X mission

An exciting manoeuvre awaits us. In early August (6–8 August 2013), the two TanDEM-X mission satellites will be reversing their formation. Until now, the TanDEM-X satellite has been circling around its twin, TerraSAR-X, in an anti-clockwise direction; after the reversal, it will circle clockwise. This complicated change to the formation in which they have been flying for almost three years is necessary to observe regions that are difficult to image, such as mountain ranges, from the opposite viewing angle. This blog entry takes an unconventional look at the planned change in formation ... read more

TanDEM-X Blog | 01. March 2011

Where and how does ice move in the ocean?

TanDEM-X has now begun routine operations, and is working with TerraSAR-X in bistatic mode and recording data for its global digital terrain model. In this post, I look back at an earlier phase of the mission, when this satellite pair orbited the Earth separated by a mere three seconds or 20 kilometres, and each sensor acquired images independently. read more

TanDEM-X Blog | 28. January 2011 | posted by Stefan Baumgartner | 3 Comments

Traffic monitoring with the TerraSAR-X/TanDEM-X satellite constellation

Traffic monitoring from space, day and night, from more than 500 kilometres up above; is that possible? Indeed it is! In fact, it has been demonstrated several times in the past – once with the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM), and again with TerraSAR-X. The traffic processors used with SRTM and TerraSAR-X were and are still subject to considerable limitations. read more

TanDEM-X Blog | 19. October 2010 | 1 Comment

Baptism of fire for the satellite formation

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

TanDEM-X Blog | 15. October 2010 | posted by Ralph Kahle | 4 Comments

The satellites have 'eye contact'

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

TanDEM-X Blog | 13. October 2010

Initial reports of success from the control room

We are off again; the team at the German Space Operation Center (GSOC) and their colleagues from EADS Astrium gathered two days ago in the control room to manage the transition to close formation flight. We began the first manoeuvre on Monday, 11 October 2010; this is referred to as the ‘drift start’ manoeuvre, which gives the TanDEM X satellite (TDX) the necessary momentum to close to a distance of one kilometre behind TerraSAR X (TSX) within a few days. read more

TanDEM-X Blog | 12. October 2010

"Everybody waltz!"

Umlaufbahnen der Radarsatelliten

"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

TanDEM-X Blog | 27. August 2010

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

Brasília

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

TanDEM-X Blog | 20. August 2010 | 1 Comment

The face of the Earth

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