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.
The image was taken on 2 June 2008. It was acquired in stripmap mode with a resolution of 3.3 metres.
The TerraSAR-X mission
TerraSAR-X is the first German satellite that has been manufactured under what is known as a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) between the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) and Astrium GmbH in Friedrichshafen. The satellite travels around Earth in a polar orbit and records unique, high-quality X-band radar data about the entire planet using its active antenna. TerraSAR-X works regardless of weather conditions, cloud cover or absence of daylight, and is able to provide radar data with a resolution of down to one metre.
DLR is responsible for using TerraSAR-X data for scientific purposes. It is also responsible for planning and implementing the mission as well as controlling the satellite. Astrium built the satellite and shares the costs of developing and using it. Infoterra GmbH, a subsidiary company founded specifically for this purpose by Astrium, is responsible for marketing the data commercially.