Technology Experiment Carrier (TET-1)

TET-1: Fire watch from Earth orbit
Artist impression of the first of the two satellites in the FireBIRD mission,. Together with BIROS, as part of their joint FireBIRD mission, it has been in orbit since June 2016.

The Technology Experiment Carrier (TET-1) went into orbit on 22 July 2012. Its design was based on its predecessor BIRD (Bi-spectral InfraRed Detection), which was the first orbiter to be used in a small satellite mission for collecting data regarding high-temperature events.

The initial objective of TET-1 was to carry out 11 experiments over the course of one year as part of the OOV programme (On-Orbit Verification of new techniques and technologies). Research facilities and industry could test and verify their systems on the TET-1 in space conditions. These tests included a lithium-polymer battery system, a GPS receiver and new solar cells. Following the successful completion of the OVV mission, the satellite was deployed for use within the follow-up mission, FireBIRD.

TET-1's main payload is the high-performance infrared camera system known as the Hot Spot Recognition System (HSRS), which was already successfully used prior to the launch of BIROS as a forest fire detector. For example, in the summer of 2015, it was able to register and measure a large fire as well as several smaller fires in the US state of Oregon. In October 2015, the DLR satellite provided accurate images of the wide-spread forest and peat fires in Indonesia. Together with BIROS, as part of their joint FireBIRD mission, it has been in orbit since June 2016.

Operation and finance

TET-1 (like BIROS), is operated and monitored from the German Space Operations Center (GSOC) in Oberpfaffenhofen, with its antenna facilities in Weilheim. The data obtained from the payload are received, processed, archived and then made available for research by the German Remote Sensing Data Ceter (DFD) at the DLR site in Neustrelitz. The construction and operation of TET-1 is funded by DLR.

Overview of important system parameters in TET-1


Type of orbit

LEO (Low Earth Orbit)

Average orbital altitude

497 to 522 kilometres

Orbital inclination (angle between the equator and the orbit)

53 Grad bis sonnensynchron (ca. 90 Grad)

Potential alignments of the payload

Sun, Earth, nadir (vertical direction to Earth), zenith (extended vertical direction), direction of flight, deep space

Position and orbit control

three-axle stabilisation

Payload power

max. 20 watts (continuous power)

Maximum power

160 watts for 20 minutes (within any one day, five times per day)

Temperature range

-10 to +30 degrees Celsius

Nominal battery voltage

20 volts (min. 18 volts, max. 24 volts)

Maximum current

8 amperes

Payload data rate

2.2 megabytes/second

Data storage

512 megabytes

TET dimensions LxWxH


67 x 58 x 88 centimetres

Payload dimensions LxWxH


46 x 46 x 42 centimetres

TET gross mass of payload

50 kilograms

TET total mass

120 kilograms


Philipp Burtscheidt

Media relations editor
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Corporate Communications
Linder Höhe, 51147 Cologne
Tel: +49 2203 601-2116

Stephanie Kaufhold

German Aerospace Center (DLR)
DLR Institute of Optical Sensor Systems, Department Public Relations
Rutherfordstraße 2, 12489 Berlin