TanDEM-X Blog
 
 

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

30. June 2010, 18.00
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.
Thomas Fritz
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Thomas Fritz
 
 

TanDEM-X images under the magnifying glass – first data is perfect

26. June 2010, 16.00
While TanDEM-X spent mission days four and five catching up to its twin – TerraSAR-X – which is hurrying on, 13 000 kilometres ahead, it continued to acquire numerous test images. These will be analysed by the team and compared with previously processed TerraSAR-X images to tune the processing chain to suit the new instrument.
Thomas Fritz
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Thomas Fritz
 
 

Uncanny but true – “Everything is running like clockwork”

24. June 2010, 23.41
The fourth mission day has dawned, and so far everything is running like clockwork. It sometimes seems almost uncanny to us, and an occasional funny remark about our now being able to slowly turn off the simulator makes the rounds. But in reality, we are obviously very pleased and happy about ‘our’ TanDEM-X. Because everything is running so smoothly, we are able to complete our activities earlier than planned and have even been able to slightly shorten our original timetable, so that we will have less need for a night shift.
Harald Hofmann
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Harald Hofmann
 
 

Commissioning of the radar instrument – everything still ‘green’

24. June 2010, 13.30
The commissioning of the satellite went smoothly. Now, the radar instrument team must start their work. Each of the electronic units that make up the radar must be turned on one by one and tested. The instrument telemetry, received at the ground stations in Weilheim (Germany), O'Higgins (Antarctica), Svalbard (Spitsbergen, Norway), and St. Hubert and Saskatoon (Canada), will be sent to the control room in Oberpfaffenhofen for evaluation.
Ulrich Steinbrecher
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Ulrich Steinbrecher
 
 

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

24. June 2010, 13.26
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.
Harald Hofmann
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Harald Hofmann
 
 

Shift work in the control room

22. June 2010, 11.38
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.
Harald Hofmann
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Harald Hofmann
 
 

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

21. June 2010, 19.26
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.)

L +00:01:50 (04:15:53 CEST))
The first launcher stage separates. On the launch video, we see a white cloud and, shortly after that, the spent rocket stage falling away.
Stefan Buckreuß
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Stefan Buckreuß
 
 

That was smooth!

21. June 2010, 04.39
4:39 am Tons of us collected to view the stream and the control room from the bridge. A textbook launch, that was. Mission operations have also just confirmed separation. (Click on full article for further updates)
Karin, alt Ranero
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Karin, alt Ranero
 
 

Intensity picking up

21. June 2010, 02.22
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).
Karin, alt Ranero
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Karin, alt Ranero
 
 

Mission Control Center in Baikonur up and running

18. June 2010, 09.23
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.
Michael Schmidhuber
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Michael Schmidhuber
 
 

Two successful launches – that’s motivating!

16. June 2010, 19.41
There were recently two successful launches (our congratulations!) – the payloads of the Prisma and Picard missions were launched together from Yasny. We followed these events via their live streams online. As will be the case with TanDEM-X, a Dnepr launcher was used. Problems with the launcher would likely have affected our launch date. So obviously, we were relieved about the smooth launch. And TanDEM-X is next in line!
Hermann  Berg
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Hermann Berg
 
 

TanDEM-X will be swallowed by a crocodile

11. June 2010, 11.46
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.
Hermann  Berg
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Hermann Berg
 
 

Packed and ready for dispatch!

11. June 2010, 08.20
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.
Hermann  Berg
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Hermann Berg
 
 

The 'square' has to fit into the round!

10. June 2010, 10.32
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...
Hermann  Berg
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Hermann Berg
 
 

TanDEM-X: An impression in pictures

08. June 2010, 14.34
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.
Hermann  Berg
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Hermann Berg
 
 

Integration of TanDEM-X with the launcher begins!

08. June 2010, 09.30
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.
Hermann  Berg
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Hermann Berg