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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 image of the month, August 2009: Mangroves, Bakassi Peninsula, Cameroon
19 August 2009
The image, taken by the German radar satellite TerraSAR-X, shows the mangrove-covered islands of the Bakassi peninsula, which are situated at the extreme eastern end of the Gulf of Guinea. Due to the outstanding accuracy of its calibration, TerraSAR-X is able to detect very small changes in the returned signal caused by changes in vegetation or deforestation. By monitoring endangered mangrove forests all over the world, TerraSAR-X can support biodiversity preservation activities.
TerraSAR-X Image of the Month, July 2009: Ship identification in the Kiel Fjord and the Baltic Sea
22 July 2009
This image - from the German TerraSAR-X radar satellite - shows the city of Kiel and the Kiel Fjord, an approximately 17-km long fjord or firth of the Baltic Sea on the northeastern shore of Schleswig-Holstein. The ships that were in this area at the time the image was captured are each marked with a circle. The high resolution of TerraSAR-X images makes them ideally suitable for the rapid identification of ships. The image was taken on 18 June 2009. It was acquired in stripmap mode with a resolution of three metres.
TerraSAR-X Image of the Month, June 2009: The volcano 'Piton de la Fournaise' on the island of La Réunion
26 June 2009
The image, taken by the German radar satellite TerraSAR-X, shows the volcano 'Piton de la Fournaise' (Furnace Peak) in the south of the island of La Réunion (Indian Ocean). This is the last active volcano on the island and is 2631 metres high. By means of very precise repeat-pass interferometric measurements, TerraSAR-X is able to detect even small movements of the Earth's surface, thus supporting volcano monitoring.
The German Earth Observation Satellite TerraSAR-X - Successfully in Operation Since Two Years
15 June 2009
TerraSAR-X, Germany's Earth observation satellite, was launched on 15 June 2007 and has gone on to have a unique and highly successful track record. In contrast to optical systems, the radar technology on this satellite enables it to record images through cloud and at night, meaning that it is able to operate continuously, right around the clock. TerraSAR-X is Germany's first radar satellite and is, at the same time, the first nationally operated remote sensing satellite, brought into being by a Public Private Partnership (PPP) between the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) and Friedrichshafen-based Astrium GmbH. DLR is responsible for planning and carrying out the mission, for controlling the satellite and the radar instrument, and for the scientific use of TerraSAR-X data.
German TanDEM-X radar satellite now complete
9 June 2009
In early 2009, Friedrichshafen-based aerospace company Astrium completed construction of the German radar satellite TanDEM-X. This satellite was created in collaboration with the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR). The satellite, five metres in length and weighing 1.3 tons, has now been transported to Ottobrunn, a town near Munich. In special-purpose test facilities operated by Astrium and IABG (an industrial equipment operating company), the satellite will undergo trials until mid-September 2009 to confirm its suitability for operation in outer space. It will be subjected to extreme temperatures and radiation and, in particular, the loads experienced during launch will be simulated. Once the tests are completed, the satellite will be transported to the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
TerraSAR-X Image of the Month, May 2009: L'Aquila after the 6 April 2009 Earthquake
26 May 2009
The image from the German TerraSAR-X radar satellite shows the area around the Italian town of L'Aquila after the magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck on 6 April 2009. Two images from the satellite were combined for the picture, taken before and after the earthquake, to create an interferogram.
F-SAR Successfully Completed its Fully Polarimetric C-Band Maiden Flight
25 April 2009
After X-band and S-band, F-SAR is now able to acquire fully polarimetric data also in C-band. Its maiden flight in fully polarimetric C-Band was on April 2, 2009. The data show excellent contrast on forest.
TerraSAR-X Image of the Month April 2009: The Wadden Sea in North Frisia
21 April 2009
The image shows the mudflats near the island of Sylt. It was compiled from two satellite images that were taken by the German radar satellite TerraSAR-X in April and May 2008. The individual pictures are coloured red and green respectively. The difference in the reflected radar signals is especially large over the areas of water, as it is here that there were the most changes between when the first picture was taken in April and the second in May. The blue coloured strip has been used to highlight this. The resulting image can be used to extensively study the morphology, sediments and habitats in the Wadden Sea.
TerraSAR-X Image of the Month, March 2009: The Drygalski Glacier in Antarctica
12 March 2009
The animation shows the Drygalski Glacier on the Antarctic Peninsula. This time-lapse video shows how the glacier is pushed out into the area formerly occupied by the Larsen A Ice Sheet at a speed of up to two kilometres per year. Thirty images recorded by the German TerraSAR-X radar satellite between October 2007 and October 2008 were combined to create this video sequence.
E-SAR aquires P-Band Data over Boreal Forest in Northern Sweden
20 October 2008
How best to map ‘boreal’ or northern forest with spaceborne radar is the focus of an ESA campaign currently underway in northern Sweden: BioSAR. The BioSAR 2008 campaign represents the first-ever ESA airborne Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) campaign over northern boreal forest. DLR-HR's E-SAR system acquires P-band data for this purpose. Because of the importance of boreal forests for ESA's BIOMASS mission, and the global carbon cycle in general, highly accurate and robust methods for transforming the P-band radar signals into forest biomass maps are required.
SAR-Lupe, Germany’s First Satellite-Based Reconnaissance System, Now Completed
22 July 2008
This morning, the fifth German reconnaissance satellite of the SAR-Lupe system was launched successfully from the Russian Plesetsk Cosmodrome south of Archangelsk. The Russian Cosmos-3M launch vehicle took off according to schedule at 4.40 Central European Summer Time (CEST) and about half an hour later released the radar satellite into its low Earth orbit, about 500 kilometres from the ground. The first communication between the German Space Operations Center (Deutsches Raumfahrt-Kontrollzentrum) of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) in Oberpfaffenhofen and the satellite showed that the satellite is functioning faultlessly. DLR has already started to put the satellite into operation.
Press Release EUSAR 2008: SAR-Techniques Conquer New Applications (Readers Edition)
8 June 2008
- Only available in German -
Press Release TerraSAR-X and EUSAR 2008: Seeking Eye in the Orbit (Deutschlandfunk)
4 June 2008
- Only available in German -
A clear view even in the dark and in fog – traffic information via radar satellite
4 March 2008
The German Aerospace Center (DLR) has begun several months of tests into the feasibility of obtaining traffic information via satellite. The German radar satellite TerraSAR-X is going to monitor selected sections of motorway in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and California. The aim of this project is to develop a procedure for large-scale traffic data capture, independent of ground systems, that permits data relay to various traffic information providers.
TerraSAR-X Now Ready for Commercial and Scientific Use
9 January 2008
The German radar satellite TerraSAR-X started its operational phase from January 7, 2008. The German Aerospace Center (DLR) as well as Infoterra GmbH, responsible for commercial use, agreed onto this date after a successful completion of the TerraSAR-X Operational Readiness Review in Dezember 2007.
AGRISAR and EAGLE Campaigns Final Workshop
15 and 16 October 2007
The ESA final workshop to AGRISAR and EAGLE campaigns took place at ESA/ESTEC on 15 and 16 October. Our Institute participated in the campaigns by supplying the airborne SAR data (E-SAR) for crop growth monitoring.
Our presentations: See "More" and "Workshop Programme and Presentations"
Measuring forest biomass from space - ESA campaign tests BIOMASS mission
08 November 2007
DLR HR delivered airborne BIOMASS SAR data set acquired with E-SAR that supports ESA scientists in developing algorithms for BIOMASS estimation.
More Brilliant Radar Satellite Images of TerraSAR-X
9 August 2007
The German radar satellite TerraSAR-X has just been launched (15 June 2007) and yet it provides a variety of brilliant images in different fields of application.
SAR-Lupe - Second Satellite Launch successfull
3 July 2007
- This article is only available in German. -
TerraSAR-X exceeds all expectations: German radar satellite sends first data in record time
21 June 2007
Scientists and commercial users are flabbergasted and only the most optimistic of engineers could have expected it, but just four days after the launch of the German radar satellite TerraSAR-X from Baikonur, brilliant first satellite images have been received. To loud applause on Tuesday evening from the TerraSAR-X teams of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), Astrium and Infoterra, the first pictures appeared on the monitors of the DLR Space Operations Center in Oberpfaffenhofen, near Munich. This occurred just 30 minutes after the receipt of the data by the Neustrelitz ground station.
TerraSAR-X - German radar satellite launch successful
15 June 2007
The successful launch of the German radar satellite TerraSAR-X on Friday 15 June 2007 at 08:14 local time (04:14 CEST) from the Russian Cosmodrome in Baikonur (Kazakhstan) represents the start of a new level of quality in the mapping of Earth. Over the next five years, new and high-quality radar images of our planet's surface will be collected.
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