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Traces of humankind – settlement patterns seen from space
25 June 2014
The sometimes bold, other times delicate lines in the images that scientists from the German Aerospace Center (DLR) have created using data acquired by the German radar satellites TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X resemble Chinese ink drawings. In truth, though, the black and white maps taken from an altitude of over 500 kilometres show the world's cities, villages and groups of houses wiggling along the course of rivers, following the lines of roads and rail tracks or spreading out into the arable countryside.
DLR at ILA 2014: The satellite missions
26 May 2014
From 20-25 May 2014, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) presented research topics and projects at ILA International Air Show Berlin, amongst others also the satellite missions TanDEM-X and Tandem-L. Professor Alberto Moreira summarizes the highlights of radar remote sensing in an interview in the following
A new map of Earth – in 3D and extremely precise
19 May 2014
This ambitious project started on 21 June 2010, when the radar satellite TanDEM-X set off into space to join its twin satellite, TerraSAR-X. Since then, these two German satellites have been orbiting Earth in an intricate formation and mapping its surface. Now, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) is making the first elevation models of a new global topography for scientific use.
EUSAR 2014: Prelimary Program consolidated, proceedings in preparation
28 April 2014
The EUSAR 2014 conference takes place at the very heart of Berlin near Brandenburg Gate from June 03 - June 05, 2014. For those interested there will also be tutorials on latest SAR technologies prior to the conference on Monday, April 02, 2014 and, additionally, the conference is accompanied by the 2014 CEOS SAR Workshop on Calibration and Validation on Friday June 06, 2014. The EUSAR 2014 Technical Program is now consolidated, available online and its conference proceedings are prepared presently. Early bird fees for a EUSAR 2014 registration are available until
. Please refer to
for more information.
First radar images: ESA’s new Sentinel-1A satellite
16 April 2014
Launched on 3 April, ESA’s Sentinel-1A satellite has already delivered its first radar images. The HR Institute has been member of the industrial consortium for the space segment with the responsibility for the calibration concept and algorithms. It is now involved in the commissioning phase of Sentinel-1 in the scope of an ESA contract for the calibration of the radar instrument and with another study for the demonstration of TOPS interferometry.
Fastest glacier in Greenland – DLR satellites TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X identify speed record
04 February 2014
Since the 1990s, Jakobshavn Isbræ has been regarded as the fastest moving glacier in Greenland. According to studies carried out by researchers from the University of Washington and the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), its speed is now increasing dramatically, with record figures for 2012 and 2013. High spatial and temporal resolution data acquired by the German radar satellites TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X enabled very precise calculations of its speed. The results of the study will be released in the print version of 'The Cryosphere', an international scientific journal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU), on 7 February 2014.
TerraSAR-X data support the rescue of "Akademik Shokalskiy" in brash ice
09 January 2014
AVAILABLE IN GERMAN: Zehn Tage saßen 74 Wissenschaftler und Touristen an Bord des russischen Forschungsschiffs "Akademik Shokalskiy" in der Antarktis fest. Starker Wind hatte Eisschollen in eine Bucht getrieben und das Schiff blockiert. Hochauflösende Satellitendaten des Deutschen Zentrums für Luft-und Raumfahrt (DLR) halfen bei der Beurteilung der Eissituation vor Ort. Die Verhältnisse können sich im Packeis durch drehende Winde schnell verändern. Deshalb nutzen DLR-Wissenschaftler aus dem Earth Oberservation Center (EOC) aktuelle hochauflösende Aufnahmen des Erdbeoachtungssatelliten TerraSAR-X, um der Schiffsbesatzung des Forschungsschiffs aktuelle Informationen über die Eisverhältnisse zu liefern. Der deutsche Radarsatellit wird in verschiedenen Modi betrieben, um Aufnahmen mit unterschiedlichen Streifenbreiten, Auflösungen und Polarisationen zu ermöglichen.
TerraSAR-X image of the month – Coral Atoll Kiritimati
16 Dezember 2013
AVAILABLE IN GERMAN: Paris ist verlassen, in Polen leben 235 Menschen, und London hat immerhin 1829 Einwohner. Auf dem Atoll Kiritimati ist vieles anders - und so werden aus europäischen Großstädten oder Ländern winzige Orte. Der abgelegenen Insel im Pazifik, auf der Seefahrer James Cook mit seiner Mannschaft 1777 Weihnachten feierte, steht das Wasser buchstäblich bis zum Hals. Das Korallen-Atoll hat zwar 321 Quadratkilometer Landfläche - aber auch 324 Quadratkilometer Lagunenfläche. Treffen die bisherigen Schätzungen zu, könnte der Inselstaat Kiribati mitsamt der Insel Kiritimati etwa im Jahr 2070 aufgrund des Klimawandels und des Anstiegs des Meeresspiegels im Pazifik versinken. Für den Radarsatelliten TerraSAR-X des Deutschen Zentrums für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) sieht das Atoll aus über 500 Kilometern Höhe wie eine poröse, zerbrechliche Struktur aus.
+++ The winner of DLR_Science_Slam 2013 is: Team REMOTE SENSING +++
06 December 2013
As last year, the final of this year's DLR_Science_Slam took place at the evening event of DLR's annual general assembly, held yesterday on 05 December 2013 in Göttingen and DLR colleagues could join the event via a live video broadcast. Two teams reached the final: TEAM SOLAR: Christoph Prahl and Christoph Hilgert (Institute for Solar Research, Almeria in Spain) and TEAM REMOTE SENSING: Michele Martone, Maria Tello Alonso (both Microwaves and Radarinstitute, Oberpfaffenhofen), Daniele Cerra, Claas Hendrik Grohnfeldt, Aliaksei Makarau, Kevin Alonso Gonzalez (each Remote Sensing Technology Institute, Oberpfaffenhofen). The voting of a jury, the hall audience and those connected via internet and mobil phones after both presentations resulted in a "The winner is: TEAM REMOTE SENSING!!!" Cordially congratulations to both teams! Watch (DLR internally) both contributions here:
EUSAR 2014 - Organized by DLR’s Microwaves and Radar Institute
The 10th European Conference on Synthetic Aperture Radar (EUSAR) is being organized by DLR’s Microwaves and Radar Institute in the heart of Berlin. Traditionally, EUSAR's organization rotates among the four founding organizations: Fraunhofer (FHR), EADS Astrium, EADS Cassidian and DLR (HR). After EUSAR 2000 in Munich and EUSAR 2006 in Dresden we choose Berlin (Hotel Maritim at Tiergarten near Brandenburg Gate) as venue for EUSAR 2014. Over the years EUSAR has developed to the world's most renowned conference in the field of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR). Despite the difficult situation of travel fund shortages in traditionally strongly represented countries we received more than 400 papers for EUSAR 2014. More than 1200 reviews have been assigned and have been nearly finished by more than 150 SAR-experts from all over the world. We will soon be able to create a first, preliminary EUSAR 2014 Program and would like to thank all our reviewers for spending their precious time and support to make EUSAR 2014 a success.
First Alliance Week of the Helmholtz Alliance: Remote Sensing and Earth System Dynamics
27 September 2013
For the first time, all scientists of the Helmholtz Alliance "Remote Sensing and Earth System Dynamics" will meet in the frame of an Alliance Week, which will take place in Garmisch-Partenkirchen from 7th until 10th October 2013. The project coordinators of the German Aerospace Center will welcome partners from eight Helmholtz Centres, eleven Universities and three research institutions. In the presence of the External Advisory Board, the User Board and further external experts, first results will be presented and future research directions will be established. The first Alliance Week will highly stimulate the scientific progress of the project and will pave the way for the upcoming years.
Federal Minister of Defence de Maizière visits Oberpfaffenhofen, amongst others the Microwaves and Radar Institute
13 September 2013
IN GERMAN: Dr. Thomas de Maizière, Bundesminister der Verteidigung, hat am 13. September 2013 das Deutsche Zentrum für Luft-und Raumfahrt (DLR) besucht, um sich über aktuelle und zukünftige Forschungsvorhaben der DLR-Sicherheitsforschung zu informieren. Dr. Dennis Göge, Programmkoordinator des DLR-Querschnittsbereichs Sicherheitsforschung, begrüßte den Minister in Oberpfaffenhofen stellvertretend für den Vorstandsvorsitzenden des DLR, Prof. Dr. Johann-Dietrich Wörner.
Wide-angle view from space
30 August 2013
Officially, the German radar satellite TerraSAR-X should have been out of service for over a year and a half – that's how long it has exceeded its intended lifespan. But engineers at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) have switched the satellite, which was launched to space on 15 June 2007, to yet another mode: TerraSAR-X can now record image strips over 200 kilometres wide. "The satellite does so by sweeping this large area in multiple stages, very quickly pivoting the radar beam numerous times across the direction of flight," explains DLR mission manager Stefan Buckreuss. For example, the image of the German Bight shows the Frisian Islands from Borkum to Wangerooge and cities such as Wilhelmshaven and Bremen. This new ‘wide-angle’ mode is of particular interest to oceanographers, who will be able to use it to investigate the tidal range, changes to mudflats, shipping movements, wave patterns, ice floes and wind levels.
Roskosmos signs participation in "International Charter Space and Major Disasters"
28 August 2013
IN GERMAN ONLY: Auf dem Luft- und Raumfahrtsalon MAKS Moskau hat die russische Raumfahrtbehörde Roskosmos am 28. August 2013 im feierlichen Rahmen eine Erklärung über den Beitritt zur "International Charter Space and Major Disasters" unterzeichnet. Die Charta setzt den Rahmen für ein internationales Netzwerk aus nunmehr 15 Raumfahrtagenturen, die weltweit im Fall von großen Katastrophen kurzfristig Satellitenaufnahmen der Unglücksregionen zur Verfügung stellen. Der Vorsitz der Charta liegt derzeit beim Deutschen Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR).
Longest glacier in Antarctica has 'calved'
09 July 2013
Ice researchers use data from the DLR-operated TerraSAR-X Earth observation satellite: Two gigantic cracks have formed in Pine Island Glacier, the longest and fastest-flowing glacier in the Antarctic. A new iceberg with an area of over 720 square kilometres and its smaller 'brother' separated from the glacier on 8 July 2013 and have 'calved' into the Amundsen Sea, off the west coast of Antarctica. Images acquired by the TerraSAR-X Earth observation satellite, operated by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), documented the gradual propagation of the first crack over a period of several months. On 11 May 2012, a second crack was discovered. Glaciologists can use this data to better understand the processes involved in the calving of icebergs.
TanDEM-X Science Team Meeting: Presentations now available
26 June 2013
All TanDEM-X Science Meeting presentations are now
and can be
bulk downloaded (348 MB !!!)
DLR delivers satellite images for Indian flood assistance
24 June 2013
Following severe flooding in northern India and Nepal, the Indian government activated the 'International Charter Space and Major Disasters' on 19 June 2013 at 10:30. The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) tasked its radar satellite TerraSAR-X with acquiring images of the affected areas and made these available to the Indian civil protection authorities.
TerraSAR-X/TanDEM-X Science Team Meetings: FINAL Program now available
10 June 2013
The FINAL TerraSAR-X/TanDEM-X Science Meeting Program is now
DLR maps flooding areas in Germany with TerraSAR-X
04 June 2013
IN GERMAN: Das Kartenmaterial des Zentrums für Satellitengestützte Kriseninformation (ZKI) des Deutschen Zentrums für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) zeigt das Ausmaß der Flutkatastrophe deutlich: In Passau stehen ganze Stadtviertel am Zusammenfluss von Inn und Donau unter Wasser, im Gebiet um Elxleben nördlich von Erfurt sind ganze Flächen überflutet. Die Informationen, die die Einsatzkräfte in den deutschen Hochwassergebieten unterstützen, erhält das ZKI aus aktuellen Aufnahmen des deutschen Radarsatelliten TerraSAR-X.
TerraSAR-X image of the month – A game of mirrors
11 March 2013
2153 mirrors twist and turn at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) Experimental Solar Thermal Power Plant in Jülich, directing sunlight onto a 22-square-metre receiver. TerraSAR-X, the German radar satellite operated by DLR, can also detect the mirrors as they follow the Sun – from more than 500 kilometres above Earth. The reflections of the radar signals make the tower and mirror array appear as bright spots of light.
Next TerraSAR-X/TanDEM-X Science Team Meetings: June 10-14, 2013 at DLR in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany
08 January 2013
The main goals of the two meetings are the provision of information to the mission status, your presentation of the first results obtained with TanDEM-X science data and the exchange of experiences with other researchers. Interested scientists are kindly invited to present their research results in an oral or poster presentation. Please note that a separate registration for TanDEM-X and TerraSAR-X sessions is required. The TerraSAR-X sessions will be on June 10 -11, the TanDEM-X sessions will be on June 12-14. A common session on Wednesday (June 12) morning.
The online services for registration and abstract submission will be open from February 15, 2013 on our webpages:
TanDEM-X: https://tandemx-science.dlr.de (June 12-14, 2012)
TerraSAR-X: http://sss.terrasar-x.dlr.de/ (June 10 -11, 2012)
Please notice the following deadlines for both meetings:
Registration: from February 15th, 2013 until April 30th, 2013
Abstract submission: from February 15th, 2013 until April 15th, 2013
TerraSAR-X image of the month – the coastal cliffs of Christmas Island
07 January 2013
Captain William Mynors was not particularly creative as he sailed past a remote island in the Indian Ocean on the 'Royal Mary', a ship belonging to the British East India Company, on 25 December 1643. He named the 135-square-kilometre island, which he could not even disembark on, 'Christmas Island'. In the image acquired with the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) TerraSAR-X radar satellite, one thing is clear – even today, tropical rainforest proliferates on the island and the coastal cliffs continue to make life difficult for mariners.
TerraSAR-X image of the month – the Santorini volcano expands
23 November 2012
Glasses are rattling on the shelves and the ground is rumbling – since January 2011 the earth under the Santorini volcano has been stirring. Most of the time, it is barely noticeable, but every now and then the inhabitants notice small tremors jolting the volcanic archipelago. Nearly circular, and seemingly carved from stone, the submerged caldera is located in the Aegean Sea. "It was clear to the local people that something was happening with the volcano – but it wasn't until we saw, among other things, the images from the TerraSAR-X radar satellite that we realised that molten rock was pooling beneath the volcano," says British scientist Juliet Biggs from the University of Bristol. Images acquired by the German Aerospace Center's (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) satellite show the entire archipelago not just rising, but also expanding.
Final Spurt towards Deutscher Zukunftspreis 2012
19 November 2012
On 28 November 2012, the German President Joachim Gauck will announce the winner of the Federal Award for Technology and Innovation (Deutscher Zukunftspreis 2012) in Berlin. Four teams are nominated for this high-ranking recognition. In this video, you may watch the official introduction of our nominated project, called „Radar Eyes in Space“.
Click here (available only in German)
DLR Science Slam: Our contribution "All you need is Tandem-L"
13 November 2012
The DLR Science Slam contribution "All you need is Tandem-L" of our Institute at the DLR Science Slam event on 13 November 2012 in Oberpfaffenhofen has enthused the audience. In the final voting after all contributions, we achieved the second place after DLR Institute of Atmospheric Physics and before the DLR Remote Sensing Technology Institute.
Bavarian Broadcast Station telecasts about 75 Years Research in Oberpfaffenhofen
22 October 2012
IN GERMAN: 1936 baute Dornier auf einer Wiese bei Oberpfaffenhofen einen kleinen Flugplatz mit Werft. Damals hätte wohl niemand vermutet, dass dieser Standort einmal so bekannt werden würde für Spitzenleistungen in der Luft- und Raumfahrt.
TerraSAR-X image of the month – stage clear for the salt flats
19 October 2012
The Bonneville Salt Flats is the largest salt pan lying to the west of the Great Salt Lake, in the northern part of the US state of Utah. The salt pan arose towards the end of the last ice age as a consequence of Lake Bonneville drying up. This was a prehistoric lake that stretched across a large section of the major basin to the west of the Rocky Mountains, and of which only the Great Salt Lake now remains. The former Bonneville Lake is history; today the salt flats stretch out over an area of some 10,360 square kilometres.
Open House Presentation 2012
21 October 2012, from 10 am - 5 pm
we will have an Open Day event at DLR Oberpfaffenhofen. You are cordially invited to join us.
Read more (in German)
Novel radar satellite technology nominated for the German Award for Technology and Innovation (Deutscher Zukunftspreis)
12 September 2012
- Scientists of the Microwaves and Radar Institute with their project "Radar Eyes in Space - Revolutionary Technology for Earth and Environment" are nominated for the German Future Award "Deutscher Zukunftspreis". This award of the German president for Technology and Innovation is presented every year to scientist and developers whose innovations lead to application-oriented and herewith marketable products. The prestigious award will be presented by the German president Bundespräsident Joachim Gauck, end of November in Berlin (ARTICLE IN GERMAN).
DLR Blog: IGARSS 2012
01 August 2012
Last week was amazing – the largest ever International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS) was held in Munich. With over 2700 participants from 68 countries, and over 2500 scientific presentations, it was an excellent platform for knowledge exchange and the exploration and discussion of topics related to 'Remote Sensing for a Dynamic Earth'. Some of the highlights of the symposium included ESA's Envisat and upcoming Sentinel missions, the future of Earth observation, and last but not least, DLR's TanDEM-X and TerraSAR-X satellites.
Flagship event for remote sensing – IGARSS 2012 opens
23 July 2012
The most important conference in the world on geoscience and remote sensing has begun – some 2400 experts from more than 70 countries will be guests at the International Congress Center in Munich until 27 July 2012. The focus of the International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS) will be on new applications, integrated Earth observation systems, satellite image processing methods, as well as ongoing and future satellite missions.
IGARSS 2012 Live Web Broadcast
21 July 2012
During International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium IGARSS 2012 in Munich we will have a live broadcast of six oral sessions. Please have a look here.
IGARSS 2012 – ‘Remote Sensing for a Dynamic Earth’
10 July 2012
One of the most important conferences on geoscience and remote sensing will take place at the International Congress Centre in Munich from 22 to 27 July 2012. The International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS) is being organised by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society (GRSS), part of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
TerraSAR-X Image of the Month - Bottleneck off the Orkney Islands
02 July 2012
A mere 10 kilometres separate John O'Groats, at the northernmost tip of the Scottish mainland, and South Ronaldsay, in the Orkney Islands. What passengers on the ferries directly experience can also be observed from space by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) TanDEM-X and TerraSAR-X satellite duo; in the Pentland Firth, the water flows at great speed, often causing a rough crossing.
Anniversary in space – five years of TerraSAR-X
15 June 2012
Five years ago today, at 04:14 CEST on 15 June 2007, the German TerraSAR-X radar satellite was launched from Russia's Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. This marked the beginning of a new era in satellite remote sensing for Germany. Designed to operate for five years, the satellite has now completed its nominal service life but it remains in excellent condition; it is expected to continue functioning for several more years.
Don’t miss IGARSS 2012
01 June 2012
One of the most important conferences on geoscience and remote sensing is just around the corner. With a record number of 3400 papers to be given, this premier event is set to be one of the biggest highlights in this year’s scientific agenda. The 2012 International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS) is being held in Munich, Germany, on 22–27 July and co-organized by ESA and DLR.
11 May 2012
The twin-mission TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X is an extraordinary constellation and a highlight in terms of technical innovation in satellite steering. Planned as a single mission "TerraSAR-X", the initially individual satellite has been accompanied by a nearly perfect twin (IN GERMAN).
TerraSAR-X image of the month – Lively winter view
02 March 2012
Ice and snow can be colourful – at least when seen through the 'eyes' of the German Aerospace Center's (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt - DLR) TerraSAR-X radar satellite. The radar signals are able to penetrate the snow cover to a depth of one metre – and the subsurface reflects the pulse in different ways. This makes the frozen delta of the Mackenzie River in Canada appear multi-coloured in an image revealing the various structures in the landscape underneath the snow.
A step closer to mapping the Earth in 3D
13 January 2012
After a year in service, the German Earth observation satellite TanDEM-X, together with its twin satellite, TerraSAR-X, have completely mapped the entire land surface of Earth for the first time. The data is being used to create the world's first single-source, high-precision, 3D digital elevation model of Earth. The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) controls both radar satellites, generates the elevation model and is responsible for the scientific use of TanDEM-X data.
Preparations under way for IGARSS 2012
11 Januar 2012
One of the biggest conferences on geoscience and remote sensing will be held this summer in Europe. The deadline for abstract submissions for the July symposium is fast approaching. Jointly organised by the IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society, the DLR German Aerospace Center and ESA, the 2012 International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS) is scheduled to be held 22–27 July in Munich, Germany.
TerraSAR-X image of the month - Tents in the desert
03 November 2011
Viewed from above, the US 'Burning Man' festival resembles a spider web. The structure laid out on the site for this festival looks very much like a small town. In October and September 2011, the TerraSAR-X radar satellite, operated by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), acquired some impressive images of the festival and its setup process.
TerraSAR-X image of the month - Gas tank covers all the way from space
02 September 2011
When a series of images acquired with the German radar satellite TerraSAR-X – operated by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) – are combined into a sequence, the result is truly amazing; even gas storage tanks can have an eventful life of their own. The position of their covers reveals the amount of gas in the tanks; as it varies over time, TerraSAR-X gazes down at the bobbing of the gas tank covers in the Italian Porto Marghera.
TerraSAR-X image of the month - Volcanic eruption in Chile
22 July 2011
The crater of the Chilean volcano Puyehue displays a striking, circular outline in this image from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) TerraSAR-X satellite – so this was not the culprit when a volcano in the southern Andes erupted on 4 June 2011.
DLR Magazine 129 • 130 - Seeing double
20 July 2011
Although the cover looks like batik work, it is actually an interferogram showing the landscape around the River Taz in Siberia. The data for the image was acquired by the TanDEM-X and TerraSAR-X satellites, which are flying in formation and surveying the surface of the Earth. By 2013, DLR will have created an extremely accurate digital elevation model of Earth's entire land surface.
Elevation models from SRTM now available for download free of charge
25 May 2011
When Space Shuttle Endeavour launched on 11 February 2000 for the 'Shuttle Radar Topography Mission' (SRTM), it was carrying two radar antennas; one in the shuttle's payload bay and the other on the end of a 60-metre mast. Over the course of eleven days, researchers at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) acquired data for a three-dimensional terrain model of large areas of the Earth. Now, DLR is making these data available for scientific purposes via EOWEB, free of charge.
TerraSAR-X image of the month: Urban sprawl around Istanbul
17 May 2011
Nobody knows exactly how many people live in Istanbul, but there are thought to be about 15 million inhabitants of this city on two continents. Images from the German Aerospace Center (DLR) TerraSAR-X radar satellite are giving urban planners a more accurate view of something slightly different – how much the city on the Bosphorus has spread out recently.
Where and how does ice move in the ocean?
25 March 2011
TanDEM-X has now begun routine operations, and is working with TerraSAR-X in bistatic mode and recording data for its global digital terrain model. In this post, I look back at an earlier phase of the mission, when this satellite pair orbited the Earth separated by a mere three seconds or 20 kilometres, and each sensor acquired images independently.
TerraSAR-X satellite data show tsunami destructions in Japan
17 March 2011
The German Remote Sensing Data Center (Deutsches Fernerkundungsdatenzentrum; DFD) and the German Space Operations Center (GSOC), both of which are part of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), are continuing to provide as much data as possible from the two German radar satellites, TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X, for the assessment of damage caused by the recent tsunami in Japan. Radar data, in contrast to data from optical satellites, can be acquired independently of cloud cover or time of day and allow precise identification of the flooded and destroyed areas on the east coast of Japan.
3rd TanDEM-X Science Team Meeting: All presentations are now available here
22 February 2011
The 3rd TanDEM-X Science Team Meeting took place on 17-18 February 2011 at DLR Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany. You may now download
here. See "Read more".
TerraSAR-X-image of the month: Calving icebergs on Queen Maud Land
08 February 2011
If the city of Bonn were located on the edge of the Fimbul Ice Shelf, in the Antarctic, its inhabitants would now be embarking on a journey through the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. An iceberg with a surface area of 120 square kilometres – the size of Bonn – has calved in the Atlantic. Glaciologists at Hamburg University's Climate Campus have been using the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) radar satellite, TerraSAR-X, to observe the area from an altitude of 500 kilometres and gain a better understanding of how icebergs like this will calve in the future.
3rd TanDEM-X Science Team Meeting: Agenda and Online Registration now available
08 February 2011
The 3rd TanDEM-X Science Team Meeting takes place on
17-18 February 2011
at DLR Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany.
are now available: See "Read more".
Traffic monitoring with the TerraSAR-X/TanDEM-X satellite constellation
28 January 2011
Traffic monitoring from space, day and night, from more than 500 kilometres up above; is that possible? Indeed it is! In fact, it has been demonstrated several times in the past – once with the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM), and again with TerraSAR-X. The traffic processors used with SRTM and TerraSAR-X were and are still subject to considerable limitations.
TerraSAR-X image of the month: Ice flow like molten metal
23 December 2010
From over 500 kilometres up, as TerraSAR-X looks down on its icy surface, the Antarctic's Nimrod Glacier looks like molten metal. During its flight over the Antarctic, the German Aerospace Centre's (DLR) radar satellite is one of the few that can direct its view over this glacier in the Transantarctic Mountains. Researchers can use these images from space to determine the flow speed of the glacier.
TanDEM-X ready for routine operations in 2011
15 December 2010
TanDEM-X has passed another important milestone: the radar mission's test phase has concluded in less than six months according to plan, paving the way for routine operations - the collection of elevation data - in 2011.
First photographs of the TerraSAR-X - TanDEM-X formation in orbit
15 Dezember 2010
The dutch archaeologist and satellite tracker Dr. Marco Langbroek managed to image the two German radar satellites TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X from ground during their formation flight in orbit with a camera. One satellite is flying in front (TerraSAR-X) while the other is following (TanDEM-X). TerraSAR-X appears slightly brighter than TanDEM-X.
DLR Compact Test Range - Antenna Measurements for Tomorrow
13 December 2010
IN GERMAN ONLY: Ein stählernes Flügeltor öffnet sich - und zum Vorschein kommt eine der modernsten wissenschaftlichen Antennen-Messanlagen Europas. Die Compact Test Range wird seit Februar 2010 vom Institut für Hochfrequenztechnik und Radarsysteme des Deutschen Zentrums für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) in Oberpfaffenhofen betrieben.
3rd TanDEM-X Science Team Meeting
02 December 2010
The 3rd TanDEM-X Science Team Meeting takes place on
17-18 February 2011
at DLR Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany. Also note that the 4th TerraSAR-X Science Team Meeting takes place on 14-16 February 2011 at DLR Oberpfaffenhofen. Click here for being routed to the TanDEM-X Science Service System for
Federal government approves new German space strategy
30 November 2010
The German Federal Government adopted a new space strategy at its cabinet meeting on 30 November 2010. The paper defines the fundamentals of how the high-technology space sector is to develop over the next few years at a national level and in so doing, how it must respond to changing political and societal conditions on the domestic as well as international stages. This strategy is being introduced by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Technologie; BMWi). The strategy paper was drafted jointly with the other federal ministries involved in space activities, and in consultation with scientific and business establishments such as the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR).
TerraSAR-X image of the month: Forest imaging in Gabon for the United Nations
30 November 2010
In Gabon, West Africa, the forest cover spans 210,000 square kilometres, or 70 percent of the total land area. It is hard for field researchers to get an overview of the situation and the frequent cloud cover in the tropics hinders observations from the air. Researchers at the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena are studying images acquired by ther German Aerospace Center's (DLR) TerraSAR-X radar satellite, as part of their contribution to the United Nations' Global Forest Resources Assessment. The satellite's radar imaging is unaffected by cloud cover or the time of day.
TanDEM-X - Recent DEMs for Crisis Management: Vulcano Merapi, Indonesia
22 November 2010
ONLY AVAILABLE IN GERMAN: Thomas Fritz, zuständig für die Prozessierung der TanDEM-X-Daten, zeigt im Blog aktuelle Aufnahmen des Vulkans Merapi: "Als wir vor einigen Wochen die allerersten bistatischen DEM-Aufnahmen mit der TanDEM-X-Formation aufnahmen, war auch der Vulkan Merapi eines der ersten Ziele. Natürlich ahnten wir nicht, dass er kurze Zeit später ausbrechen und diese DEM-Aufnahme bereits zur Unterstützung des Krisen-Managements dienen würde. Mittlerweile gibt es weitere Aufnahmen des Merapi, an denen man den Nutzen der hochaufgelösten und genauen TanDEM-X-DEMs für solchen Krisenfälle erkennen kann."
TerraSAR-X-Image of the month: The eye of typhoon "Megi"
28 October 2010
The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) radar satellite TerraSAR-X looked right into the eye of Typhoon Megi while it was in the middle of the South China Sea. The image, acquired on 21 October 2010, shows the tropical cyclone on its way to Taiwan after raging through the Philippines. Megi is one of the fiercest typhoons this region has seen in recent years.
TanDEM-X-Mission Blog: Baptism of fire for the satellite formation
20 October 2010
Last Thursday, the two German radar satellites of the TanDEM-X formation finally reached their operational orbit configuration, with only a few hundred metres separating them. In this configuration, they act as a unique radar interferometer in space. The next day, on Friday evening, the instruments were switched on, after many careful checks, to acquire the world's first Digital Elevation Model (DEM) data using a free-flying bistatic Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite formation. That same night, the jointly acquired data were received and processed by our operational processing chain.
DLR becomes a member of the International Charter 'Space and Major Disasters'
19 October 2010
The German Aerospace Center (DLR) has become a member of the International Charter 'Space and Major Disasters'. At an event in Paris to celebrate the tenth anniversary of its founding, Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Chairman of the DLR Executive Board, signed the charter, marking DLR's accession.
TanDEM-X and TerraSAR-X – imaging Etna while flying in formation
19 October 2010
The TanDEM-X and TerraSAR-X satellite pair have acquired their first image of Earth’s surface, synchronised to the microsecond, while flying over Mount Etna in Italy. Scientists at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) have used the data to create a three-dimensional digital elevation model with an unprecedented elevation accuracy down to two metres. The image, taken while the satellites were flying just 350 metres apart, is the first in the world to be made by satellites flying in such a close formation.
TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X flying in close formation
15 October 2010
The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) and the space company Astrium have recently taken an important step forward in their mission to create a three-dimensional map of the world. On 14 October 2010, the radar satellite TanDEM-X moved into close formation with its 'twin', TerraSAR-X.
TanDEM-X Blog: Initial reports of success from the control room
13 October 2010
We are off again; the team at the German Space Operation Center (GSOC) and their colleagues from EADS Astrium gathered two days ago in the control room to manage the transition to close formation flight. We began the first manoeuvre on Monday, 11 October 2010; this is referred to as the ‘drift start’ manoeuvre, which gives the TanDEM X satellite (TDX) the necessary momentum to close to a distance of one kilometre behind TerraSAR X (TSX) within a few days.
In the Field - For a Precise View from Space
13 October 2010
Colleagues of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) prove TanDEM-X with employed mobile and fix installed transponders and reflectors - for a precise view of TanDEM-X down to the earth surface. With the measured results the complete TanDEM-X system is calibrated (ARTICLE ONLY AVAILABLE IN GERMAN).
"Everybody waltz!" – TerraSAR X and TanDEM X - Close formation flight has begun
12 October 2010
"Everybody waltz!" – this is the invitation to dance at the annual Vienna Opera Ball. This phrase is now applicable to the TerraSAR X and TanDEM X satellites, because as of yesterday the 'dance floor' is open and close formation flight has begun. Upon successful completion of the final tests, permission to commence the now imminent mission phase was granted by a panel of experts at the conclusion of the Formation Flight Reviews.
A connection with antennas - TanDEM-X project leader Manfred Zink
11 October 2010
Manfred Zink likes to organise things. For the TanDEM-X radar satellite mission he is organising when and where the antennas of the satellites are to point, in order to acquire the best three-dimensional images possible of our planet. Manfred Zink is Project Manager for the Ground Segment of the mission at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) in Oberpfaffenhofen. He is responsible for directing the entire mission, from the close flight formation of the TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X satellites to the creation of the digital elevation model. This is the thirteenth of our series of portraits on the DLR web portal.
TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X "chat" for the first time
27 August 2010
Simply synchronization data are exchanged between the two satellites - but this was enough to acquire a first simultaneous data set of TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X. Herewith, we accomplished a worldwide first experiment of acquiring images in a bistatic radar mode of two in formation flying radar satellites. (Article in German)
TanDEM-X Blog: The face of the Earth
20 August 2010
For a month now, we have been acquiring altitude models with the TanDEM-X and TerraSAR-X satellite pair. Already, over 1000 products have come out of our operational processing chain. Alongside many test images, some of the data also give an insight into how humankind has shaped the surface of the Earth – and how the highs and lows around them have determined the course of their lives.
TanDEM-X: Inauguration of the first DLR ground station in Canada
10 August 2010
On 10 August 2010, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) inaugurated its first satellite data receiving station in Inuvik, Canada. DLR will use the new ground station particularly to receive data for the German TanDEM-X satellite mission. Using the large, 13-metre antenna, partner countries Germany and Canada as well as scientists from around the world and other external users will be able to access important satellite data, process and evaluate them. The development of new technologies for Earth observation is an important joint objective.
TanDEM-X helps mapping Pakistan floodings
06 August 2010
Satellite data is an indispensable tool for quickly assessment of the situation in cases of natural or environmental disasters and for guiding emergency teams on ground. DLR's 'Center for Satellite Based Crisis Information' (Zentrum für satellitengestützte Kriseninformation; ZKI) and many other international organizations have been using the German radar satellite TerraSAR-X for three years to rapidly obtain reliable data in all weather conditions for such crisis situations. Now, our new satellite, TanDEM-X, has also provided assistance for the first time in a crisis – gathering information on the flood catastrophe in Pakistan. We were able to help not only with radar images but we also used TanDEM-X for interferometry in formation with TerraSAR-X for the first time. This has provided a more reliable technique to map floods instantaneously and more accurately, in one pass and without the need for archived data.
TerraSAR-X image of the month: Tracking the catastrophic oil spill
03 August 2010
If an oil spill wasn't responsible for the formations in these TerraSAR-X images, they might seem like the work of an artist. The images were acquired over the Gulf of Mexico on 9 July 2010. For researchers, such imagery is key in forecasting the distribution of the oil slick. TerraSAR-X mapped the oil-polluted area in the Gulf of Mexico in a series of images acquired on 9 July 2010. The environmental catastrophe started on 20 April 2010 when an explosion sank the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and the shut-off valves on the wellhead could not be closed.
The Data's Third Dimension
22 July 2010
- ONLY AVAILABLE IN GERMAN - Noch sind die beiden Satelliten nicht ganz in ihrer gemeinsamen Formation, da werden schon trickreiche Instrumentkommandierungen und Prozessoreinstellungen genutzt, um die allerersten Höhendaten mit den beiden Satelliten zu erzeugen. Damit begann an diesem Wochenende die interferomerische Phase der TanDEM-X-Mission. Wir sehen mit Begeisterung wie unser Prozessor zum ersten Mal die Erde in drei Dimensionen entstehen lässt.
TanDEM-X delivers first 3D-Images
22 July 2010
On 22 July 2010, researchers at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) facility in Oberpfaffenhofen published the first 3D images from the TanDEM-X satellite mission. Just one month after the launch of TanDEM-X (TerrraSAR-X add-on for Digital Elevation Measurement), which took place on 21 June 2010, DLR researchers have created the first digital elevation model – almost a week ahead of schedule. A group of Russian islands in the Arctic Ocean was selected for the first test.
14 July 2010
As ground teams prepared for the formation flight of TanDEM-X and TerraSAR-X, TanDEM-X was put through its paces in the last week before approach. The instrument team ran a set of hot/cold tests to check the instrument’s performance limits by first allowing the radar system to cool down and then running it at full load. This was followed by tests in which a large number of randomly targeted radar images of the Earth’s surface were used to test the reliability of the reception and processing systems. The images acquired during these tests include a number of very puzzling pictures.
TerraSAR-X image of the month: the Nazca lines in Peru
02 July 2010
From the ground, the famous Nazca lines in Peru don’t look like much. It is only when you look at them from a height that the mysterious drawings on the stony desert floor come to life. The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), TerraSAR-X radar satellite has seen them from space, providing a new view of this 2000-year-old World Heritage Site.
TanDEM-X's first zoom and wide-angle images
30 June 2010
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.
TanDEM-X sends its first images in record time
25 June 2010
Already, with its first image acquisitions, TanDEM-X has surpassed its twin satellite, TerraSAR-X. On 24 June 2010, only 3 days and 14 hours into the mission, the satellite sent its first image data back to Earth. The transmission was received by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) ground station at Neustrelitz and processed to produce images. TanDEM-X looked down from an altitude of more than 500 kilometres above northern Madagascar, Ukraine and Moscow.
The Earth in 3D - German radar satellite TanDEM-X launched successfully
21 June 2010
Germany's second Earth observation satellite, TanDEM-X, was launched successfully on 21 June 2010 at 04:14 Central European Summer Time (CEST, 08:14 local time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Atop a Russian Dnepr rocket, the satellite, weighing more than 1.3 tons and five metres in length, started its journey into orbit. At 4.45 CEST first signal was received via Troll ground station in the Antarctic.
Early bird special – watch the TanDEM-X launch live
18 June 2010
TanDEM-X, Germany's new Earth observation satellite, is scheduled for launch on Monday, 21 June 2010 at 04:14 CEST. Together with its twin, TerraSAR-X, TanDEM-X will survey all 150 million square kilometres of Earth's land surface several times during its three-year mission. We will stream the TanDEM-X launch live from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, as well as an exclusive infotainment programme from the control centre in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany.
TanDEM-X: Packed and ready for dispatch
11 June 2010
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.
TerraSAR-X image of the month, May 2010: Mexico City
21 May 2010
Mexico City is one of the most densely populated cities in the world. Water is in short supply there and increasing amounts of groundwater are being extracted to meet the needs. For the last four months, the German Aerospace Center's (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) radar satellite, TerraSAR-X, has been imaging the city from space. Amongst other things, the images show that even within this imaging period, the ground has sunk by as much as 10 centimetres in some places as a result of the water extraction.
TanDEM-X has arrived in Baikonur
13 May 2010
Germany’s new Earth observation satellite, TanDEM-X, has arrived at the Cosmodrome in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. DLR's Project Manager, Michael Bartusch, accompanied the satellite and is sending updates for the Mission Blog straight from the launch site. The satellite has been unpacked from its transport container and will be powered up today – 14 May. The launch campaign is under way!
TerraSAR-X's 'twin' satellite, TanDEM-X, certified ready for space
29 April 2010
Construction of the German radar satellite TanDEM-X is complete and the satellite has been qualified for space operations during a series of tests conducted in Ottobrunn, near Munich. As with its 'twin' satellite TerraSAR-X , the TanDEM-X project is a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) between the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) and Astrium GmbH.
TerraSAR-X image of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull: DLR scientists investigate gigantic ash cloud after volcanic eruption
17 April 2010
The Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull has ejected large quantities of ash and sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere during its eruptions on 21 March and 15 April. Scientists from the German Aerospace Center (DLR) are evaluating satellite images to investigate the effects of the eruptions on the atmosphere.
TerraSAR-X image of the month, April 2010: Easter Islands – the most isolated island in the world
01 April 2010
Seen from space, Easter Island looks anything but egg-shaped. The German Earth observation satellite TerraSAR-X flew over this small and remote volcanic island, acquiring snapshots that show that man-made structures can be seen easily even from space. This image shows the principle town of Hanga Roa, on the northwestern coast (in yellow), and the airport, in the western part of the island (black line).
TerraSAR-X image of the month, March 2010: The International Space Station (ISS)
04 March 2010
On 13 March 2008, the International Space Station (ISS) passed across the field-of-view of Germany's remote sensing satellite, TerraSAR-X, at a distance of 195 kilometres (122 miles) and at a relative speed of 34,540 kilometres per hour (over 22,000 mph). The encounter lasted for about three seconds, but this brief moment was long enough for the synthetic aperture radar on TerraSAR-X to acquire an image of the ISS, a structure measuring about 110 metres by 100 metres by 30 metres.
Iceberg collides with the edge of an ice shelf in the Antarctic
23 February 2010
Looking like a needle of ice and snow, iceberg B-15K was caught in the act by the German Aerospace Center's (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) TerraSAR-X satellite as it collided with an ice shelf in Atka Bay, Antarctica. Scientists had long been observing as the 54-kilometre long and 5-kilometre wide iceberg was driven around Antarctica by ocean currents. Then, on 11 February 2010, it crashed into the edge of the ice shelf in Atka Bay.
SRTM+10: 'Astro-log' from the past
11 February 2010
Ten years ago, on 11 February 2000, the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) carried out an important 'mission to planet Earth': Space Shuttle Endeavour circled Earth with radar sensors developed in USA, Germany and Italy - capturing almost the entire planet's surface in 3D. On board was German astronaut Gerhard Thiele, who was penning a diary exclusively for the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR). We are marking the tenth anniversary with a video showing the mission highlights, and by republishing Gerhard Thiele's day-by-day record record under the title 'SRTM+10'; the 'astro-log' is available only in German.
TerraSAR-X image of the month, February 2010: TerraSAR-X image of the month: Movements of the Earth's crust in Haiti during the earthquake of 12 January 2010
02 February 2010
The image shows movements in the Earth's crust caused by the earthquake in Haiti on 12 January 2010. The colour scale shows the extent of the displacements, from green for small displacements to deep red for movements of two metres. The red-coloured area was displaced by about 80 centimetres during the earthquake, in the direction of the oblique radar view.
TerraSAR-X image of the month: Thunderstorm off the coast of Panama
11 January 2010
There are isolated weather events that prevent even TerraSAR-X from obtaining a clear view of the surface of Earth. This TerraSAR-X image shows a thunderstorm cell with exceptionally strong rainfall off the Caribbean coast of Panama, visible at the top of the image as a blurred area.
TerraSAR-X image of the month, December 2009: Alpine upland at Christmas time
22 December 2009
This image from the German TerraSAR-X radar satellite shows the alpine upland from the lower reaches of the Inn valley through Rosenheim as far as Wasserburg am Inn. The River Inn, snaking across the image is easy to recognise. The Simssee lake lies in the middle and to the east, part of the Chiemsee lake can be seen. This colour image, taken on Christmas Eve 2008, particularly highlights towns, forests, fields and stretches of water. The snow on the Chiemgau alps and in their valleys shows as black areas.
TerraSAR-X image of the month: Oil disaster off the Australian coast
27 November 2009
On 21 August 2009, the Montara offshore oil platform in the Timor Sea (a large sea bordering the Indian Ocean, to the northeast of Australia) started leaking oil. Over a period of ten weeks, more than two million litres of oil were lost into the sea, forming a 2000 square kilometre slick. The German radar satellite TerraSAR-X followed the growth of the slick as it occurred. The picture shows the platform and the slick spreading out from it, visible as a dark area.
TerraSAR-X image of the month, October 2009: TerraSAR-X image of the month: Ground uplift under Staufen's Old Town
21 October 2009
The image, acquired by the German radar satellite TerraSAR-X, shows part of the southern Rhine Rift Valley near Freiburg and the city of Staufen. Two separate images that were acquired by the satellite six months apart during 2008 were combined to form what is known as an interferogram. In Staufen, a clear pattern of deformation can be seen, caused by an elevation of the substrata.
TerraSAR-X image of the month, September 2009: Munich and its environs
21 September 2009
This image shows the urban region of Munich and the surrounding area. It was acquired on 2 May 2009 at a resolution of 10 metres. The urban area is depicted in shades of red and yellow, while agricultural land appears in shades of green with woodland and forest areas shown in shades of blue. This information can, for example, be used to produce land usage maps, as well as for town planning purposes.
TerraSAR-X-Bild des Monats, August 2009: Mangroven auf der Bakassi-Halbinsel
19. August 2009
Das Bild des deutschen Radarsatelliten TerraSAR-X zeigt die mangrovenbedeckten Inseln der Bakassi-Halbinsel (Kamerun), die am äußersten östlichen Rand des Golfs von Guinea liegen. Auf Grund der außergewöhnlichen Genauigkeit der Signalkalibrierung ist TerraSAR-X in der Lage, auch minimale Änderungen der von der Vegetation zurück gestreuten Radarpulse zu erkennen. Damit lassen sich Änderungen im Vegetationszustand und Abholzungen feststellen. Die weltweite Überwachung der gefährdeten Mangrovenwälder durch TerraSAR-X unterstützt die Aktivitäten zur Erhaltung der Biodiversität.
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