10 years of TerraSAR-X
19 June 2017
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.
First TerraSAR-X image, showing Volgograd in Russia. Credit: DLR