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10 years of TerraSAR-X

19 June 2017

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Designed to return unique images of the Earth for five years, the German radar satellite TerraSAR-X has outdone itself. The satellite has been in operation for twice that time - and there is still no end in sight to its service.

Since its picture-perfect launch on 15 June 2007 from the Russian cosmodrome in Baikonur, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) TerraSAR-X mission has exceeded all expectations.

"TerraSAR-X has stood for outstanding research and development performance and top-level satellite operation for 10 years. To this day, the mission continues to set standards in precision and image resolution. Thanks to its globally unique radar technology, TerraSAR-X has opened up a new era in remote sensing and paved the way for the equally successful follow-up mission, TanDEM-X. I am pleased that both satellites have been fully functional and efficient," emphasises Pascale Ehrenfreund, Chair of the DLR Executive Board.

TerraSAR-X and its twin TanDEM-X, which was launched three years later, have been flying in formation since 2010. Together, they generate the highest resolution three-dimensional images of the Earth's surface. To this day, the special mission concept of TanDEM-X, the first bistatic SAR interferometer in space, developed at the DLR Microwaves and Radar Institute, is one-of-a-kind.

Volgograd, Russia

First TerraSAR-X image, showing Volgograd in Russia. Credit: DLR

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First Sentinel-2B images delivered by laser

 12 June 2017

With the Sentinel-2B satellite close to beginning its working life in orbit, this latest Copernicus satellite has linked up to Alphasat by laser, across almost 36 000 km of space, to deliver images of Earth just moments after they were captured.
maltaSentinel-2 lasers
The test, which was done as part of Sentinel-2B's commissioning, included capturing a strip of images from Europe to North Africa.