Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
  Space Industry and Business News  

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

TanDEM-X Ready For Routine Operations In 2011

This TanDEM-X image shows Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt flats in the world covering 10,000 square kilometres, located next to the volcanic region of the Atacama Desert. The blue to dark blue areas show the lowest lying parts of the salt flats. A trained eye can see the boundaries of rock deposits in the three-dimensional model. This information about landscape features helps us draw important conclusions about the origins and development of the area. Credit: DLR.
by Staff Writers
Bonn, Germany (SPX) Dec 22, 2010
On 14 December 2010, TanDEM-X passed another important milestone: the radar mission's test phase has concluded in less than six months according to plan, paving the way for routine operations - the collection of elevation data - in 2011.

The TanDEM-X mission was developed by the German Aerospace Center in collaboration with Astrium, and is operated from DLR Oberpfaffenhofen. The objective of the mission is to create a highly accurate three-dimensional elevation model of Earth's entire surface.

Immediately after it was launched to its 514-kilometre high orbit on 21 June 2010, the satellite was operating nominally, and sent back its first high resolution images after just three and a half days. TanDEM-X was thoroughly tested and calibrated over the following months.

This included the first close formation flight with TerraSAR-X, launched in 2007, during which the two radar satellites flew at a distance of just a few hundred metres from each other. This formation flight made it possible to take simultaneous images of Earth's surface from two different points of view - crucial to the three-dimensional mapping of the entire globe.

"The next step towards our global three-dimensional map was commissioning the control and processing chains and confirming the predicted quality of the first digital three-dimensional models," says Dr. Manfred Zink, TanDEM-X Project Manager for the ground segment at DLR. Completion of this phase means that now nothing stands in the way of full operation in early 2011.

A global network of ground stations
"Given the vast amount of data collected by the two satellites, one of our major challenges was getting the data back to Earth," says Zink. The TanDEM-X mission alone needs four ground stations.

Along with the stations for TerraSAR-X, this adds up to a global network of more than 10 ground stations. This makes possible the 'handover', in which a ground station has to switch from one satellite to the other in less than 20 seconds as they fly overhead.

After optimised data transmission, precise knowledge of how close to each other the two satellites are flying is essential. This baseline must be known to within a millimetre. Deviations from this precision can lead to altitude errors of up to a metre in the final map.

The satellites are equipped with special GPS receivers, built by the German Research Center for Geosciences, Potsdam (Geo-Forschungszentrum GFZ), which enable high-precision location determination. Combined with geographical reference data, this makes possible the necessary millimetre-accuracy baseline information. This procedure can also be verified.

Our world in three dimensions
The satellite pair will map the Earth's entire surface (150 million square kilometres) over the next three years, providing data for a unique global elevation model. The remarkable thing about this model is its accuracy (under 2 metres) and homogeneity. Global, uniform, highly accurate and in high resolution - the resulting elevation model will have a multitude of commercial and scientific applications.

One example of the commercial exploitation of this accurate data is via the creation of topographical maps. The first data provided by the satellites has already been used for crisis management in response to the eruption of the Indonesian volcano Mount Merapi, by predicting the movement of lava flow. Due to this it was possible to evacuate affected areas in time.

Share This Article With Planet Earth DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook

Related Links
Earth Observation News - Suppiliers, Technology and Application

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Mexico Quake Studies Uncover Surprises For California
Pasadena CA (SPX) Dec 21, 2010
New technologies developed by NASA and other agencies are revealing surprising insights into a major earthquake that rocked parts of the American Southwest and Mexico in April, including increased potential for more large earthquakes in Southern California. At the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, scientists from NASA and other agencies presented the latest r ... read more

Ever-Sharp Urchin Teeth May Yield Tools That Never Need Honing

Tablet computers come of age with iPad mania

New Kindle becomes Amazon's all-time best seller

Chilean airline opts for secure upgrade

IBCS Completes Warfighter-Centered Design Exercises

Arianespace Will Orbit Sicral 2 Milcomms Satellites

Codan Receives JITC Certification For 2110 HF Manpack

Northrop Grumman Bids for Marine Corps Common Aviation CnC

ISRO Puts Off GSLV Launch

Arianespace To Launch ESA's First Sentinel Satellite

ISRO Set To Launch Heaviest Satellite For Telecom And TV

The Flight Of The Dragon

Launch Of New Russian Navigation Satellite Postponed To Next Year

Galileo's Navigation Control Hub Opens In Fucino

China Launches Seventh Orbiter For Indigenous Global SatNav System

Universal Address And GPS Enhanced Google Maps For iPhones

Russia starts probe as airport chaos sparks protests

Britain mulls law to fine airports after Heathrow chaos

China's Shandong Airlines to buy 15 Boeing planes

China opens skies to private air transport

Better Control Of Building Blocks For Quantum Computer

S.Korea's Hynix says chip price slump will hit Q4 profit

Iridium Memories

Making Wafers Faster By Making Features Smaller

ESA Unveils Latest Map Of World's Land Cover

TanDEM-X Ready For Routine Operations In 2011

Season's Greetings: NASA Views The Change Of Seasons

Mexico Quake Studies Uncover Surprises For California

Official suspected in attack on Russian activist: report

Long Lasting Chemicals Threaten The Environment And Human Health

Mozambique's war-hit Gorongosa park slowly recovers

Breakdown in defenses caused BP spill: NY Times probe

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement