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EARTH OBSERVATION
Satellites join up to map Earth

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
by Staff Writers
Berlin (UPI) Oct 15, 2010
Two German satellites orbiting within 380 yards of each other are preparing to create the most detailed map ever made of Earth's entire surface, officials said.

The radar satellites TanDEM-X and TerraSAR-X will make 3-D maps of the surface as they orbit the globe, sweeping around the planet at more than 14,000 mph, the BBC reported.

TerraSAR-X was launched in 2007 and TanDEM-X was put in orbit in June, then slowly brought closer and closer to its companion.

The final maneuvers to bring them together were made step-by-step over the past week, German space agency officials said.

"It's tricky and I must confess we've all been a bit nervous," Manfred Zink said.

The two satellites will soon begin observations to measure the variation in height across the globe to an accuracy of around 6 feet, the BBC said.



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