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Animation: TanDEM-X and TerraSAR-X



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The successful German radar satellite TerraSAR-X (launched on 15 June 2007) is to work alongside its virtually identical 'sister' satellite TanDEM-X (launch scheduled for October 2009) to measure the Earth to a very high degree of precision.

To do this, they will be flying in close formation, separated by distances of between 200 metres and several kilometres, with their radar technology enabling them to operate through cloud cover and at night, two things which optical systems are unable to accomplish.

With the help of this satellite double formation, it will be possible to measure the entire land surface of the Earth, an area of some 150 million square kilometres, within a period of just three years and with high accuracy. This will involve the use of a 12-metre grid (the width of a road) to obtain information on physical relief (altitude), accurate to within just two metres.

Animation: Astrium.
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