TDX is an almost exact reproduction of its brother satellite. But while TSX was launched from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome on 15 June 2007 for the TerraSAR-X mission, his twin brother followed only on 21 June 2010. Just 400 meters separate the orbits of the two satellites. Together they tirelessly collect data to map our planet. Whenever the two satellites are at the right distance parallel to each other, one satellite sends a brief radar signal, whose echo is recorded by both satellites when it is is reflected back from Earth. The goal of the jointly conducted TanDEM-X mission is to produce a digital terrain model of the entire planet, homogenous, without gaps, and of unprecedented quality, with a resolution of 12 meters and a vertical precision better than two meters.
This mission has made DLR a groundbreaker in many areas. The Synthetic Radar Aperture (SAR) being used has revolutionized radar remote sensing. The new terrain model as well as new algorithms and methods to analyze radar data are being created at EOC. Results range from velocity measurements to millimeter-accurate measurement of building movement to operational services like mapping floods for emergency response teams.