TanDEM-X - The Earth in three dimensions
The main objective of the TanDEM-X mission is to generate an accurate three-dimensional image of Earth that is homogeneous in quality and unprecedented in accuracy. Orbiting Earth at an altitude of around 500 kilometres, two nearly identical radar satellites have begun mapping its surface. The first of the two, TerraSAR-X, has been operating since 2007. Three years on, TanDEM-X, its twin satellite, has joined it. Flying in close formation, only a few hundred metres apart, the two satellites are imaging the terrain below them simultaneously, from different angles.

These images are processed into accurate elevation maps with a 12-metre resolution and a vertical accuracy better than two metres. The amount of data generated by the satellites will grow to 1.5 petabytes within three years, corresponding to a storage capacity of almost 200,000 DVDs. Like the TerraSAR-X mission, TanDEM-X is a project developed under a public-private partnership between the German Aerospace Center, DLR, and Astrium GmbH based in Friedrichshafen, Germany.

Thema Seite
The Earth in three dimensions 3
A German key project 4
The TanDEM-X mission 4
Public-private partnership 6
TanDEM-X data for science 7
Helix orbit 7
The synthetic aperture radar interferometer 8
Applications 9
Across-track synthetic aperture radar interferometry 9
Along-track synthetic aperture radar interferometry 12
Commercial use 13
Technology 14
Safety an precision in orbit 14
TanDEM-X operating modes 15
The satellite 17 
The synthetic aperture radar 18
The ground segment 19
The processing chain 21
The future 22

Martin Fleischmann
German Aerospace Center

Space Administration
, Communication
Tel: +49 228 447-120

Fax: +49 228 447-386

E-Mail: Martin.Fleischmann@dlr.de
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Brochure TanDEM-X (http://www.dlr.de/rd/en/Portaldata/28/Resources/dokumente/Publikationen/Broschuere_TDX_en_hires.pdf)