The DLR site in Neustrelitz

Real-Time Acquisition of Sentinel-1 Mission Data at the German Remote Sensing Data Center

08 May 2015

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  • Northeast Coast of South Africa, acquired by Sentinel-1A on 7 May 2015

    Northeast Coast of South Africa, acquired by Sentinel-1A on 7 May 2015 at 16:29 UTC. Received at the DFD Ground Station Neustrelitz from the on-board memory at 16:52 UTC.

  • Northeast Cost of South Africa

    Image section of the South African northeast coast, acquired by Sentinel-1A at 7 May 2015 at 16:29 UTC with ships off shore.

  • German Bay, acquired by Sentinel-1A on 7 January 2015

    German Bay, acquired by Sentinel-1A on 7 January 2015 at 05:40 UTC. Processed at the Ground Station Neustrelitz.

The German Remote Sensing Data Center (DFD) of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Neustrelitz was the first station worldwide outside the ESA core ground segment to acquire and process Sentinel-1 data. The radar data from this Copernicus satellite are being processed in near-real-time and used by DLR’s Maritime Safety Research Department in Neustrelitz and Bremen for such purposes as the automatic detection of ships and oil leaks and to derive wind, wave and ice parameters. The undergirding development work is being co-financed by the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy and the State of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

Direct acquisition enables German users to have access to data from this European satellite within minutes. This is absolutely crucial for urgent applications. In addition to the maritime near-real-time services the radar data are used by DFD’s Center for Satellite Based Crisis Information (ZKI) to generate maps showing the current flooding situation in Europe.

Neustrelitz is the first ground station to make possible this near-real-time access to Sentinel-1 data. The systems for acquiring the data in multimission operation and the associated process control were developed at DFD and integrated into the total processing chain with the help of a processor licenced from an outside source to generate standard products.

Direct reception of data from this satellite, launched in 2014, was regulated five months ago in an agreement between DLR and ESA. Acquisition of Sentinel data is one facet of the national collaborative Copernicus ground segment.

Sentinel-1A is the first operational satellite of the Sentinel series, which is being developed and operated for the European Copernicus programme. In the context of the core ground segment contracted by ESA, data from the satellites are acquired by ground stations in Svalbard (Norway), Matera (Italy) and Maspalomas (Spain) and then transferred to the processing and archiving centres (PACs) at DFD in Oberpfaffenhofen and Airbus in Farnborough (Great Britain). At those locations they are processed and distributed to users. In addition, national ground stations in the ESA member states can also directly acquire Sentinel data – as in Neustrelitz – in order to make them available for urgent applications.

For the further development of DFD as a European near-real-time data centre the acquisition in Neustrelitz of data from additional Sentinel missions is planned. The Sentinel-2 and Sentinel-3 satellites are planned for launch in the course of the current year.

Last modified:
02/06/2015 09:15:49



Melanie-Konstanze Wiese
German Aerospace Center (DLR)

Tel.: +49 30 67055-639

Fax: +49 30 67055-102
Holger Maass
German Aerospace Center (DLR)

Tel.: +49 3981 480-111
Gunter Schreier
German Aerospace Center (DLR)

German Remote Sensing Data Center; Direction

Tel.: +49 8153 28-1375