D-SDA Archive / Production Oberpfaffenhofen

The German Satellite Data Archive (D-SDA) at the DLR site in Oberpfaffenhofen is used to archive Earth observation data from national and international Earth observation missions during the mission lifetime, store these data over the long term, and make them available to current and future generations of in-house and external users.

Satellite archive for Earth observation data

The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) operates the German Remote Sensing Data Center (DFD), a large-scale research facility whose infrastructure is focused on the D-SDA Archive / Production. Since 1995, this facility has been a core component of the payload ground segment of national and international Earth observation missions such as SRTM X-SAR and TanDEM-X. It is also used on behalf of the European Space Agency ESA (ESA) as part of the European Union Copernicus programme, with Sentinel-1, Sentinel-3, and Sentinel-5P.

This makes the D-SDA an important element of the German and wider European space sector. The D-SDA ensures seamless data management during the mission. At the same time, it ensures – over the course of decades – preservation of and access to valuable Earth observation data. This data is a national cultural asset and vital raw material for research. Preservation of the data enables DLR and the DFD to make a decisive contribution towards research into global change and civil security with scientifically sound findings about global change processes in the environment.

The GA has a data capacity of 50 petabytes. As of January 2019, the archived data volume amounted to approximately 20 petabytes, with an annual growth rate of more than three petabytes. This ensures the sustainable, long-term availability and usability of archived data in accordance with international guidelines and best practice.

The Earth observation data archive is unique in that it possesses the largest capacity of any such archive in Germany, along with providing long-standing expertise. As a result, the facility also has high potential for third-party funding – for example, for contracts from ESA. In addition, the facility is an important building block for German and European space-based research, as it is integrated into the ground segments of national and international Earth observation missions.


Volker Speelmann

Head of Research Infrastructures
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Linder Höhe, 51147 Cologne

Eberhard Mikusch

Head of Department
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
German Remote Sensing Data Center (DFD)
Münchener Straße 20, 82234 Weßling