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Microwaves and Radar Institute
Director of the Institute
Microwaves and Radar Institute
With its know-how and expertise in passive and active microwave remote sensing, the Microwaves and Radar Institute contributes to the development and advancement of ground-based, airborne and spaceborne sensors. The focus of its research work is on the conception and development of new synthetic aperture radar (SAR) techniques and systems, as well as sensor-specific applications.
TanDEM-X – German radar satellites show volcanic eruption in Iceland
07 February 2024
On 18 December 2023, a volcanic eruption occurred in the area of the Sundhnúkur 'crater row' between Grindavík and Fagradalsfjall. This had been anticipated by small earthquake swarms – a series of seismic events in a local area within a relatively short period – in the preceding weeks. The main eruption lasted for four days until 21 December 2023. On 14 January 2024, there was another lava eruption through two fissures further south, sending lava as far as the first houses in Grindavík.
Herzliche Weihnachtsgrüße von TanDEM-X!
22. Dezember 2023
This year's Christmas picture shows the TanDEM-X digital elevation model of the South Africa's Northern Cape region, where the Khi Solar One power plant is located (see enlarged TerraSAR-X image in the center). This solar tower power plant has been in operation since 2016, has a nominal output of 50 megawatts and covers an area of 60 hectares. Solar tower power plants play an important role in the energy transition. In line with the outcome of this year's UN Climate Change Conference (COP 28) in Dubai, the "beginning of the end" of the fossil fuel era was agreed. This was the first-ever COP resolution to address fossul fuels, a further milestone on the path to carbon neutrality.
Despite the challanges we have faced around the world this year, I wish you a satisfied reflection on the past, faith in tomorrow and hop for the future. Continue to be on the lookout for news from TanDEM-X on
The DLR Microwaves and Radar Instittute wishes you Merry Christmas 2023 and above all a healthy, successful year 2024!
Christmas markets as seen by TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X
21 December 2023
To mark the end of the year, the TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X satellites operated by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) embarked on a search for Christmas markets around the world. The result – fascinating radar images that take the viewer into winding alleyways or bring the special atmosphere of Christmas markets by the sea a little closer.
IEEE Spectrum: For NASA, Iceland’s Lava Fields Mimic Venus’s Hellscape
28 November 2023
The pleasant streets of Grindavik on the southern tip of Iceland are now barren, stark, and cracked, as empty-seeming as the vast landscape around it. On 11 November, this Iclandic fishing town was evacuated on fears of an imminent volcanic eruption.
Topographic changes on Earth measured
22 November 2023
The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) has established another milestone in 3D Earth mapping with the 'TanDEM-X 30-metre DEM Change Map', which provides a global overview of changes to Earth's surface. Change maps are relevant for everything from glacial retreat to agricultural development, volcanic activity and urban planning. Mapping changes in this way is significant for numerous research fields, climate change studies and socio-political issues. The new dataset from the TanDEM-X satellite mission is now freely available at a resolution of 30 metres, with an absolute height accuracy down to just one metre, providing high-precision data across the globe.
BLOG: What's new about the German radar satellites?
02 November 2023
Our Earth is a complex and dynamic system, and radar remote sensing is designed to provide quantitative 3D and 4D information of the Earth's surface. During the TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X Science Team Workshop at the German Aerospace Center from October 18 to 20, 2023, the latest research results and information products from the high-resolution data of the German satellites were presented (IN GERMAN).
El Dorado, the legendary city of pure gold
03 November 2023
For centuries, El Dorado, the legendary city of pure gold, has lured conquerors and explorers to Central and South America, symbolizing the search for fortune and wealth. Researchers are still trying to decode the myth today, although dozens of expeditions have failed despite clear evidence. TanDEM-X images could now help scientists to find new traces. ZDFinfo doku web link (only in German):
"Mythos - Die größten Rätsel der Geschichte: El Dorado"
, November 03, 2023, see ZDF Mediathek.
From innovative reference targets and analysis-ready radar data
24 October 2023
How do you define and ensure the data quality of state-of-the-art satellite-based radar satellites? To discuss these and many other questions from the field of calibration (measurement) of radar satellite missions, an international community of radar experts met last week at the Microwaves and Radar Institute of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Oberpfaffenhofen for the annual meeting of the "CEOS WGCV SAR Subgroup on Calibration and Validation of High Resolution Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Sensors".
TerraSAR-X / TanDEM-X Science Team Meeting 2023
Oktober 18 - 20, 2023
On behalf of the Organizing Committee, we are pleased to invite you to the TerraSAR-X / TanDEM-X Science Team Meeting 2023 that will be held from Wednesday October 18th to Friday October 20th, 2023 at the German Aerospace Center in Oberpfaffenhofen. Registration begins at 8.30 am on Wednesday October 18th.
Read more about the mission:
More information on the event:
TerraSAR-X/TanDEM-X Science Team Meeting 2023
EUSAR 2024: The extended abstract deadline is approaching
EUSAR, the European Conference on Synthetic Aperture Radar, is the world’s leading international conference dedicated to SAR techniques, technology, and applications. It takes place every two years and is organized by VDE in collaboration Airbus, Fraunhofer, Hensoldt and the German Aerospace Center (DLR). In 2024, VDE and DLR’s Microwaves and Radar Institute are co-organizers. We would like to remind you that the extended abstract deadline for EUSAR 2024 is approaching:
September 30, 2023
. We look forward to your extended abstract submission!
TerraSAR-X/TanDEM-X Science Team Meeting: Registration Deadline
On behalf of the Organizing Committee, we are pleased to invite you to the TerraSAR-X / TanDEM-X Science Team Meeting 2023 that will be held from Wednesday October 18th to Friday October 20th, 2023 at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany. Please let us remind you that attendees are required to register until
September 22, 2023
CEOS SAR Cal/Val 2023: Workshop Registration
The Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) Working Group on Calibration and Validation (WGCV), SAR Subgroup, is organizing the Synthetic Aperture Radar Workshop 2023 (CEOS SAR WGCV 2023). It will be held from Monday, October 16th to Wednesday, October 18th 2023 at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany. Please let us remind you that attendees need to register until
September 15, 2023
NASA's VERITAS mission prepares for Venus on volcanic Iceland
10 August 2023
NASA's Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography And Spectroscopy (VERITAS) mission will orbit Venus and acquire infrared spectroscopy, radar imaging, topography, and repeat pass interferometry data. The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) is a key partner in the mission and a field campaign currently under way in Iceland. DLR's advanced airborne F-SAR radar sensor is used for investigating and characterising surface properties to distinguish between various types of lava flows expected to be present on Venus in preparation for the return to Venus in the next decade. At the same time on the ground, DLR scientists use a field version of the Venus Emissivity Mapper (VEM) to map the near infrared spectral characteristics. The field campaign to Iceland is a joint expedition of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California, DLR and a group of international scientists from the VERITAS science team.
Studying rainforests from the skies – radar technology measures biomass
04 August 2023
At present, there are only estimates of how much forest biomass exists worldwide. However, its extent is crucial in order to accurately assess global warming. This information could be used to predict the consequences of climate change and to take appropriate countermeasures. Researchers at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) are working on technologies to accurately identify and survey forest biomass worldwide with the help of radar satellites. To this end, a research team from DLR Oberpfaffenhofen initiated the five-week GABONX measurement campaign, which has now been successfully completed in Gabon, Central Africa.
Radar imaging from space – the stadiums of the Women's World Cup down under
20 July 2023
The Women's World Cup will take place in Australia and New Zealand from 20 July 2023. The radar satellite duo TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X imaged the tournament venues from space between May and July this year. By combining several images, vegetation such as parks or meadows appear in green and can be distinguished from urban buildings in blue/white. An elevation model of each venue was also generated.
IEEE Spectrum: Radar Imaging Could Be the Key to Monitoring Climate Change - The pioneering system can track rising sea levels and deforestation
30 June 2023
For his “leadership and innovative concepts in the design, deployment, and utilization of airborne and space-based radar systems,” Moreira is this year’s recipient of the IEEE Dennis J. Picard Medal for Radar Technologies and Applications. Moreira says he’s honored to receive the “most prestigious award in the radar technologies and applications field.” “It recognizes the 20 years of hard work my team and I put into our research,” he says. “What makes the honor more special is that the award is from IEEE.”
Press release: Radio telescopes seen from space
19 June 2023
The June highlight images from the twin TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X satellites show a selection of well-known radio telescope facilities. Radio telescopes look deep into space to explore the secrets of the Universe. Using the radio waves received by these telescopes, astronomers can study interstellar gases, the remnants of supernovae, the Sun and much more. They are also used in the search for potential radio signals from intelligent extraterrestrial beings. Radio astronomy was founded by the US physicist Karl Guthe Jansky, who detected microwave radiation from the Milky Way for the first time in 1933. The first radio telescopes were built in the years following this discovery. Today, more than 100 radio telescopes around the world are being used to explore the vastness of the cosmos.
Press Release: Is the rise in sea level underestimated?
10 May 2023
New research shows that the baseline of Greenland's Petermann Glacier shifts during tidal cycles, causing warm seawater to accelerate ice melt. This previously unknown interaction could lead to a 200% increase in sea level rise projections for glaciers that close off the ocean when included in models. Our colleagues
Pietro Milillo, Jose-Luis Bueso-Bello
were involved in this study. It was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on May 08, 2023.
Departments of the Institute
The department of SAR Technology in engaged in the development of methods and techniques for airborne multimodal SAR systems...
The department Radar Concepts develops and analyzes innovative techniques for future radar remote sensing systems and applications.
Satellite SAR Systems
The Satellite SAR Systems department works on spaceborne SAR systems with a focus on the development, operation and calibration of SAR missions.
Reconnaissance and Security
The department of Reconnaissance and Security works on topics of remote sensing and reconnaissance.
TanDEM-X Latest News
TanDEM-X DEM Gallery
TanDEM-X Images [6 MB]
TanDEM-X Forest Map
TerraSAR-X Picture Gallery
Tandem-L Latest News
TSX/TDX Science Meeting'23
CEOS SAR WGCV 2023
HR Institute Seminar
Compact Test Range
Airborne SAR (F-SAR)
E-SAR and F-SAR Missions
E-SAR and F-SAR Picture Gallery
Institute at a Glance
Brochures of the Institute
Status Report 2011 – 2018
Status Report 2006 – 2011
Status Report 2000 - 2005
Research and Projects
Helmholtz Alliance "Remote Sensing and Earth System Dynamics"
TanDEM-X - Die Erde in 3D
Institute - 360° Tour
Take a 360 degree tour through the Institute!
HR Institute on YouTube
2023 IEEE Picard Medal
SAT1 Special - Climate Change
ILA 2018 Berlin: Tandem-L
ISPRS 2016 Prague
BR: TanDEM-X 3D World Map (IN GERMAN)
ARCTIC 2015 Campaign
ILA 2014 Berlin: TanDEM-X / Tandem-L
Deutsche Welle: Landmines
Deutscher Zukunftspreis, Nominierung 2012 „Radaraugen im All“
Institute's History: A Retrospective 1908 - 2008 (PDF 34.39 MB)
LINKED IN: Mit dem Eisbrecher zum Wrack der „Endurance“
TWITTER: L-Band-Radar in der #Arktis im Einsatz
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