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TerraSAR-X Capabilities for Commercial INSAR Applications

Fifame Koudogbo(1) and Bernd Scheuchl(1)

(1) Infoterra GmbH, 88309 Friedrichshafen, 88309 Friedrichshafen, Germany


Although it has been in orbit for less than three months and is not yet fully commissioned, TerraSAR-X, the new high resolution German SAR satellite operating in the X-band (9.65 GHz), already produced over one thousand high quality images; thus opening the door for numerous applications and for the establishment of an extended worldwide commercial EO-market.

The space mission TerraSAR-X is the first German space project implemented under a Public Private Partnership (PPP). Cooperation partners are the Federal Republic of Germany represented by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and EADS Astrium. Infoterra GmbH, a wholly-owned EADS Astrium subsidiary specialized in the collection, processing, and distribution of air- and spaceborne imagery and value-added products, holds the exclusive commercial exploitation rights for TerraSAR-X.

TerraSAR-X potential application fields are based on a combination of new features of SAR instrument that are for the first time available on space sensors. The very high resolution, the multi-polarization and multi-incidence angle capability of TerraSAR-X open very interesting perspectives of applications. The aim of this paper is to demonstrate how TerraSAR-X, due to its features and value added, can fulfill commercial user requirements in many application fields; emphasis will be given on SAR Interferometry. Potential domains of applications covering sectors such as environmental planning, risk assessment and monitoring as well as security and defence applications - border control, will be identified, discussed and illustrated.


Keywords: ESA European Space Agency - Agence spatiale europeenne, observation de la terre, earth observation, satellite remote sensing, teledetection, geophysique, altimetrie, radar, chimique atmospherique, geophysics, altimetry, radar, atmospheric chemistry