Space | 19. August 2010

Processing of first TanDEM-X data received at Inuvik

Erhard Diedrich, in charge of the building of the Inuvik satellite station, returned from Canada with his colleagues, a happy man. The inauguration on 10 August was not only moving, but also marked the end of a successful first checkout phase. Over 300 passes of data have been acquired since April this year, among them 60 from the TanDEM-X satellite.

We acquired a first image over the Inuvik satellite station from TanDEM-X at the very beginning of the mission. During this acquisition, the 13-metre satellite dish followed the satellite flight path and therefore acted as a radar reflector. It appears on the radar image as a bright cross. The town of Inuvik is at the top left of the image; the airport is towards the lower right.

 TanDEM-X-Aufnahme von Inuvik

TanDEM-X image of Inuvik. Credit: DLR.

The station in Inuvik is fully automated, from antenna control, through the complete reception chain, to the recording of the encrypted raw data onto tape. These tapes are then sent to DLR for processing. Monitoring of the station operations is performed at the Earth Observation Center in Oberpfaffenhofen, where all the data from the various TanDEM-X ground stations comes together and is assessed for completeness and quality.

Systemingenieure im DLR

We now have 525 acquisitions from the TerraSAR-X satellite and 157 from TanDEM X in the archive, among them first joint acquisitions by both satellites, which can be used for the generation of elevation data sets. The first such image pair was acquired on 1 August over October Revolution Island in the Russian Arctic, which had already been the target of the very first 3D experiments. The TanDEM-X data received at the Inuvik satellite station were combined with those from the corresponding TerraSAR X scene and processed into elevation data using the operational TanDEM X processor.

Further elevation data sets and explanations concerning the 3D representation will be given in an upcoming blog by my colleague, Thomas Fritz.



System engineers Frank Riffel, Ralf Reissig, and Robert Metzig watch the automated TanDEM-X data reception at the Inuvik satellite ground station on 18 August at 16:28 UTC. Credit: DLR.



Höhenmodell der Oktoberrevolutions-Insel 

TanDEM-X 3D elevation data from October Revolution Island, acquired on 1 August 2010. Credit: DLR.