TanDEM-X Blog | 21. June 2010 | posted by Manuela Braun

Intensity picking up

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

TanDEM-X Blog | 16. June 2010

Two successful launches – that’s motivating!

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! read more

TanDEM-X Blog | 11. June 2010 | 2 Comments

TanDEM-X will be swallowed by a crocodile


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

TanDEM-X Blog | 11. June 2010

Packed and ready for dispatch!

Gruppe vor Space-Head-Modul

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

TanDEM-X Blog | 10. June 2010 | 1 Comment

The 'square' has to fit into the round!

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 Blog | 08. June 2010

Integration of TanDEM-X with the launcher begins!


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

TanDEM-X Blog | 31. May 2010

Tests completed - the next TanDEM-X transmission will come from space

With finalisation of the functional tests for the satellite bus and instrument, we have reached another important milestone. Evaluation of the test data confirmed that everything was nominal. In one of the last tests, the satellite was powered up solely by its internal supply and the external power was switched off. This too was successful, so the satellite was turned off and the wiring to the electrical test equipment was removed – a slightly melancholic moment. The next time we receive a signal from the spacecraft it will be in orbit, having separated from the launcher. read more

TanDEM-X Blog | 20. May 2010 | 3 Comments

Safety first in the fuelling hall

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

TanDEM-X Blog | 17. May 2010 | 1 Comment

TanDEM-X makes progress

TanDEM-X in cleanroom

We are now in the second week of our TanDEM-X launch campaign here in Baikonur. The satellite has been installed on its test rig and a quick check shows that the instrument and spacecraft are in good health. Meanwhile, the propulsion and cold gas systems have been pressurised to check that they are leak tight. read more