Designed to return unique images of the Earth for five years, the German radar satellite TerraSAR-X has outdone itself. The satellite has been in operation for twice that time – and there is still no end in sight to its service.
795 million people worldwide – or one in nine – do not have enough to eat. And the consequences of climate change continue to exacerbate this already precarious situation, with failed crops due to extreme periods of drought or flooding being just one example.
The new season has begun: DLR is once again looking for the best application ideas in the fields of satellite navigation and Earth observation for the European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC) and the Copernicus Masters.
Climate change, with all its ecological and economic implications, is one of society's greatest challenges. It is imperative that we develop efficient strategies and derive measures to protect our sensitive climate system on a global scale.
Just two years after its 'twin satellite' was launched on 7 March 2017 at 02:49 CET (6 March at 22:49 local time), the European Earth observation satellite Sentinel-2B set off on its mission on board a Vega rocket from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana.
On 17 February 2017, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft-und Raumfahrt; DLR) Space Administration and Airbus Defence and Space GmbH signed a contract for the design and construction phases of the German-French climate satellite MERLIN (Methane Remote Sensing LIDAR Mission).
Expansive forest fires have raged through Chile for some weeks now due to a long dry spell. On 25 January 2017, the Chilean National Office for Emergency (Oficina Nacional de Emergencia del Ministerio del Interior; ONEMI) activated the International Charter Space and Major Disasters to obtain up-to-date situation images of the disaster area to assist emergency services.
For the first time in the history of space exploration, scientists at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) have demonstrated in a real space experiment how a satellite can approach a counterpart by fully autonomously, making use of only optical or vision-based navigation.
A unique experiment – with a very special goal – has been devised by the German Space Operations Center (GSOC) of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR). The AVANTI experiment (Autonomous Visual Approach Navigation and Target Identification) is intended to demonstrate how a satellite can detect a spacecraft in space and approach it autonomously.
The German satellite duo TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X have consistently delivered one-of-a-kind Earth observation data since 2007 and 2010, hence shaping the international research landscape. Now, scientific users from across the globe have gathered for the TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X Science Meeting at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) in Oberpfaffenhofen, where they will discuss the results obtained from the data and define requirements for future remote sensing technology.
More than 1.5 million children and their families in over 130 countries around the world are currently receiving support from the humanitarian aid organisation SOS Children's Villages International. The Centre for Satellite Based Crisis Information (ZKI) at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) site in Oberpfaffenhofen is supporting the organisation by establishing emergency and disaster management concepts in order to provide effective assistance in the event of natural disasters, such as floods, earthquakes or forest fires.
The new three-dimensional map of Earth has been completed. Mountain peaks and valley floors across the globe can now be seen with an accuracy of just one metre. The global elevation model was created as part of the TanDEM-X satellite mission; it offers unprecedented accuracy compared with other global datasets and is based on a uniform database.
METimage, a new satellite instrument for weather and climate forecasting, is now entering its final phase. On 20 September 2016, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) and Airbus Defence and Space signed an agreement for the design, construction and testing of the radiometer.
On 14 September 2016 in Berlin, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) and the French space agency (Centre national d'études spatiales; CNES) signed a cooperation agreement for the design, construction and operational phases of the Franco-German climate satellite MERLIN in the presence of Brigitte Zypries, Parliamentary State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and Federal Coordinator of German Aerospace Policy, as well as Thierry Mandon, French Minister of State for Higher Education and Research.
A new corporate network will ensure increased safety and lower costs in the field of maritime traffic in future. Five private companies and a research institute are now working together within the MARSAT project to develop new services for the maritime industry using satellite data.
Today, the analysis and use of satellite images is commonplace. Just 15 years ago, however, only a handful of specialists worked with these valuable data. Since then, a particular niche expertise has rapidly developed – the use of satellite data for disaster management.
The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) has been actively involved in humanitarian aid for many years. Alongside government partners, the private sector and scientific institutions, DLR is supporting the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) work towards a world with zero hunger.
Earth observation satellites fly at distances of up to several hundred kilometres from Earth and can provide detailed information that assists relief workers on the ground.
On 22 June 2016 at 05:55 CEST, the BIROS (Bi-Spectral Infrared Optical System) microsatellite was successfully launched into space from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in India on board a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).
Two eyes are better than one; this principle is also true for the two radar satellites that make up the Sentinel-1 mission. On 25 April 2016 at 23:02 CEST, the Sentinel-1B Earth observation satellite lifted off from Europe's spaceport in French Guiana on board a Soyuz launch vehicle.