TerraSAR-X is a commercial German synthetic aperture radar (SAR) Earth observation satellite which was launched on 15th June 2007.
The TerraSAR-X mission is a Public Private Partnership (PPP) between the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) and Europe’s leading space company, EADS Astrium GmbH (Airbus). TerraSAR-X carries an X-band, steerable, SAR radar with single and dual polarisation options. There is an additional quad polarisation option for mission specific captures. The satellite captures in 5 modes ranging from 1m (High Resolution Spotlight Mode) to 18.5m resolution (ScanSAR Mode). TerraSAR-X has revisit times varying from 2.5 days to 11 days depending on imaging mode.
On 21st June 2010, TanDEM-X (TerraSAR-X add-on for Digital Elevation Measurement) was launched. The TanDEM-X satellite is almost identical to the TerraSAR-X satellite. Both satellites have been flying in close formation with only a few hundred metres separation (helix formation). Together they formed the first configurable synthetic aperture radar interferometer in space.
The TerraSAR-X & TanDEM-X mission has been engaged in a synchronous data acquisition and coverage where the Earth’s entire land mass was captured over a period of 3 years. This has resulted in the production of the WorldDEM dataset comprising a 12m posting elevation model with a reported absolute relative accuracy of 10m. Some examples are seen in the below image.
Features and Benefits
- Flexible spatial resolution (from 25cm to 40m).
- Reliable, weather-independent access to imagery and monitoring capabilities.
- Capable of measuring surface heights and movement.
- Unique resolution over a large area.
- Excellent radiometric accuracy.
- Unique and agile ability to switch rapidly between imaging modes and polarisation.
High Resolution SpotLight (Single/Dual)
High Resolution SpotLight (Single): 1m
High Resolution SpotLight (Dual): 2m
SpotLight (Single): 2m
SpotLight (Dual): 4m
StripMap (Single): 3m
StripMap (Dual): 6m
High Resolution SpotLight (Single): 10km
High Resolution SpotLight (Dual): 10km
SpotLight (Single): 10km
SpotLight (Dual): 10km
StripMap (Single): 30km
StripMap (Dual): 15km
High Resolution SpotLight (Single): HH or VV
High Resolution SpotLight (Dual): HH + VV
SpotLight (Single): HH or VV
SpotLight (Dual): HH + VV
StripMap (Single): HH or VV
StripMap (Dual): HH + VV or HH + HV or VV + VH
ScanSAR: HH or VV
High Resolution SpotLight (Single): 20-55 degrees
High Resolution SpotLight (Dual): 20-55 degrees
SpotLight (Single): 20-55 degrees
SpotLight (Dual): 20-55 degrees
StripMap (Single): 20-45 degrees
StripMap (Dual): 20-45 degrees
ScanSAR: 20-45 degrees
Nominal Look Direction