TanDEM-X Blog
 
 

Baptism of fire for the satellite formation

19. October 2010, 15.49
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.
Thomas Fritz
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Thomas Fritz
 
 

The satellites have 'eye contact'

15. October 2010, 12.40
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.
Ralph Kahle
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Ralph Kahle
 
 

Initial reports of success from the control room

13. October 2010, 17.01
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.
Harald Hofmann
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Harald Hofmann
 
 

"Everybody waltz!"

12. October 2010, 12.00
"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.
Stefan Buckreuß
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Stefan Buckreuß