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About TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X


TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X are German radar satellites from DLR (the German Aerospace Center). TerraSAR-X launched in 2007 and was joined by TanDEM-X in 2010. Both satellites remain operational. The twin satellites feature a unique geometric accuracy that is unmatched by any other spaceborne sensor.

Mission Parameters
Launch DateTerraSAR-X: 15 June 2007
TanDEM-X: 21 June 2010
Orbit Height514 km at equator
Orbit Repeat Cycle11 days
Orbit Inclination97.44°
Ascending node / equatorial crossing time15:00 ± 0.25h (local)

TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X are part of ESA's Third Party Missions Programme, in which ESA has an agreement to distribute data products from the missions.

TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X Objectives

Flying in close formation, the objective of the TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X satellites is to simultaneously image Earth's terrain from different angles with unprecedented accuracy for research and development purposes as well as scientific and commercial applications.

TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X Instruments

The primary payload on the TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X satellites is an X-band radar sensor. This instrument allows the satellites to acquire images with different swath widths, resolutions and polarisations.

The TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X SAR instrument is an active phased array X-band antenna system with operational modes of 'stripmap', 'spotlight' and 'scanSAR' permitting the acquisition of high-resolution imagery as well as of wide-swath imagery.

Instrument Modes Specifications
 Spotlight HS modeSpotlightSL modeExperimental SpotlightStripmap mode (SM)ScanSAR mode (SC)

Resolution, cross-track

Resolution, along-track











Product coverage, (km)
along-track x cross-track
5 x 1010 x 105 x 10≤ 1500x 30≤ 1500x 100

TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X Data


ESA is offering, for scientific research and application development, access to Full archive and New Tasking data from TerraSAR-X and Tandem-X missions depending on submission and acceptance of a project proposal.

ESA will support as many high-quality and innovative projects as possible within the available quota limit, therefore, only a limited amount of products can be made available to each project from the below collections.

Registered users can have access to the TerraSAR-X ESA archive through the online dissemination server.

The archive continues to grow as ESA collects and stores new products.


Tools available for visualising, processing and analysing TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X data:


TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X data can be processed using the PolSARpro tool. PolSARpro (Polarimetric SAR data Processing and Education) supports the scientific exploitation of polarimetric SAR data and is a tool for high-level education in radar polarimetry.

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