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Press releases - archive until 2007

TanDEM-X - DLR and EADS Astrium release new satellite mission

17 May 2006

Satellite mission TanDEM-X
zum Bild Satellite mission TanDEM-X

Berlin/Friedrichshafen - The German Aerospace Center / German Space Agency DLR on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology and Europe's leading satellite manufacturer EADS Astrium today announced at the Berlin Air Show ILA their intention to build a new satellite mission called TanDEM-X. Following the official kick-off, development and manufacturing of the new German radar-satellite will now start at EADS Astrium's Friedrichshafen plant. TanDEM-X is scheduled for launch in 2009. Together with the almost identical radar satellite TerraSAR-X which is to be launched in autumn this year, it will form a high-precision radar interferometer.

Like TerraSAR-X, the TanDEM-X project will be carried out within the scope of a public-private partnership between EADS Astrium GmbH and DLR. It settles the utilisation of data for scientific purposes under the management of the DLR Microwaves and Radar Institute and for commercial purposes, for which Infoterra GmbH (Friedrichshafen), a subsidiary of EADS Astrium GmbH, is exclusively responsible. The spacecraft will cost approx. 85 Mio. Euro, DLR will finance 56 Mio. Euro €, EADS Astrium carries 26 Mio. Euro and three Mio. Euro will be sourced by marketing of flight opportunities for further payloads.

With the aid of the tandem formation TerraSAR-X/TanDEM-X it will be possible to completely measure the Earth's land surface, that is 150 million square kilometres, within a period of only 2.5 years. For a 12m grid (street width), height information can be determined with an accuracy of < 2 meters.

The decisive advantage of a satellite-based Earth measurement is the generation of a world-wide, consistent and homogeneous terrain model with no discontinuity at regional or national borders and no inhomogeneities resulting from different measurement procedures and measurement campaigns staggered in time (mosaics). The radar plays a decisive role here, since it can be operated completely independent of weather and light conditions.

 German radar satellite TerraSAR-X
zum Bild German radar satellite TerraSAR-X

At present, the procedure is unparalleled and receives particular attention in the USA. TanDEM-X is a key project for demonstrating, safeguarding and extending the German competence and competitiveness in the field of satellite-based radar technology.

As of 2010, Germany will possess a digital terrain model of the Earth - an attractive and worldwide unique data product - which can be used in initiatives and programmes, such as the Centre for satellite-based crisis information (ZKI - Zentrum für satellitengestützte Kriseninformation), GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) and GEOSS (Global Earth Observation System of Systems), and also in security-relevant cooperation agreements.

About EADS Astrium

EADS Astrium is Europe’s leading satellite system specialist. Its activities cover complete civil and military telecommunications and Earth observation systems, science and navigation programmes, and all spacecraft avionics and equipment. EADS Astrium is a subsidiary of EADS SPACE. In 2005 EADS SPACE had a turnover of €2.7 billion and 11,000 employees in France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain. EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2005, EADS generated revenues of €34.2 billion and employed a workforce of more than 113,000.

About the German Aerospace Center DLR

Dr. Ludwig Baumgarten (DLR) and Dr. Reinhold Lutz (EADS) at ILA 2006
zum Bild Dr. Ludwig Baumgarten (DLR) and Dr. Reinhold Lutz (EADS) at ILA 2006

DLR is Germany's national research centre for aeronautics and space. Its extensive research and development work is integrated into national and international cooperative ventures. As Germany's Space Agency, the German federal government has given DLR responsibility for the forward planning and implementation of the German space programme as well as international representation of Germany's interests. Approximately 5 100 people work for DLR; the center has 31 institutes and facilities at eight locations in Germany: Cologne (headquarters), Berlin, Bonn, Brunswick, Goettingen, Lampoldshausen, Oberpfaffenhofen and Stuttgart. DLR also has offices in Brussels, Paris and Washington, D.C.

Eduard Müller
German Aerospace Center

Public Relations

Tel.: +49 2203 601-2805

Fax: +49 2203 601-3249

Mathias Pikelj
EADS Astrium

Tel.: +49 7545 89123

Mobile: +49 162 2949666

Created: 17/05/2006 13:30:00