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TerraSAR-X/TanDEM-X Mission Status

Buckreuss, Stefan and Zink, Manfred (2012) TerraSAR-X/TanDEM-X Mission Status. 2nd EUSC SAR Workshop, 2012-03-13 - 2012-03-15, Torrejon de Ardoz, Spain.

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Official URL: http://www.eusc.europa.eu/

Abstract

TerraSAR-X is a new German radar satellite that was launched in June 15, 2007. It carries a high frequency X-band SAR sensor that can be operated in three different modes and various polarizations. The Spotlight-, Stripmap- and ScanSAR-modes provide high resolution images for detailed analysis as well as wide swath data whenever a larger coverage is required. These high geometric and radiometric resolutions together with the single, dual and quad-polarization capability are innovative and unique features with respect to space borne systems. Additionally several incidence angle combinations are possible and double side access can be realized by satellite roll manoeuvres. The satellite is positioned in a sun-synchronous 11 days repeat orbit. TanDEM-X (TerraSAR-X add-on for Digital Elevation Measurement) opens a new era in spaceborne radar remote sensing. A single-pass SAR interferometer with adjustable baselines in across- and in along-track directions is formed by adding a second (TDX), almost identical spacecraft to TerraSAR-X (TSX) and flying the two satellites in a closely controlled formation. With typical across-track baselines of 200 m – 400 m a global Digital Elevation Model (DEM) with 2 m relative height accuracy at a 12 m posting will be generated. The TDX satellite is a rebuild of TSX with only minor modifications. This offers the possibility for a flexible share of operational functions for both the TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X missions among the two satellites. The TDX satellite is designed for a nominal lifetime of 5 years. Predictions for TSX based the current status of system resources indicate at least one extra year (until the end of 2013) of lifetime, providing the required three years of joint operation. The missions TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X jointly share the same space segment consisting of the TSX and TDX satellites orbiting in close formation and are operated using a common ground segment, that was originally developed for TerraSAR-X and that has been extended for the TanDEM-X mission. A key issue in operating both missions jointly is the different acquisition scenarios: whereas TerraSAR-X requests are typically single scenes for individual scientific and commercial customers, the global DEM requires a global mapping strategy. The two satellites will downlink their data to a global network of ground stations: Kiruna in Sweden, Inuvik in Canada and O'Higgins in the Antarctic. The entire processing chain is a new TanDEM-X specific development. However, it consists of individual modules which strongly benefit from the TerraSAR-X and the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) heritage. Major design drivers result from the acquisition strategy which requires the combination of several (global) coverages and application of multi-baseline processing techniques based on supporting intermediate products. The TDX satellite was launched on 21st of June 2010. The first three months of the commissioning phase were dedicated to calibration and performance verification and revealed calibration accuracies and overall performance of the TDX SAR system and its products as good as for TSX. Comprehensive testing of the various safety measures has been performed in parallel to check-out activities on the new ground segment elements. In a Formation Flight Review early October “green light” was given for entering the close formation, which was achieved on October 14th, 2010. Bistatic DEMs are being acquired since then. The following bistatic commissioning phase of the TanDEM-X mission concentrated on checking out the complete bistatic chains from acquisition planning to bistatic and interferometric processing and generation of so-called raw DEMs. Key features of the mission like the synchronization system and the determination and calibration of the baselines had to be verified for operational bistatic imaging and fully automated elevation model generation. Global DEM acquisitions started after successful completion of an extensive test and verification program in December 2010. Parallel to the first month of operational data acquisition the team concentrated its efforts on the calibration of the bistatic interferometer. Correction of differential delays between TSX and TDX was necessary to facilitate the utilization of radargrammetry for resolving the 2-ambiguity band. In July phase, delay and baseline calibration reached a level, which allowed starting the data driven processing of all data in August 2011. The first global coverage (except Antarctica) was completed on January 12th, 2012. A comprehensive monitoring system has been established to evaluate the performance of each individual data take. Pre-launch prediction have been confirmed or even succeeded. Feedback provided to the TanDEM-X Acquisition Planner is being used for additional acquisitions and identification of areas not requiring a second coverage. The final processing step (mosaicking and calibration using ICEsat as global reference) is currently under test. First sample mosaics will be presented.

Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Title:TerraSAR-X/TanDEM-X Mission Status
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of Authors
Buckreuss, StefanUNSPECIFIED
Zink, ManfredUNSPECIFIED
Date:13 March 2012
Refereed publication:No
In SCOPUS:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
Status:Published
Keywords:TerraSAR-X, TanDEM-X, Mission Status
Event Title: 2nd EUSC SAR Workshop
Event Location:Torrejon de Ardoz, Spain
Event Type:international Conference, Workshop
Event Dates:2012-03-13 - 2012-03-15
Organizer:European Union Satellite Centre
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport, Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space, Space
HGF - Program Themes:Earth Observation, Earth Observation
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt, Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EO - Erdbeobachtung, R EO - Erdbeobachtung
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Projekt TanDEM-X, R - Projekt TerraSAR-X Kalibration und Projektunterstützung (old)
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:Microwaves and Radar Institute > Spaceborne SAR Systems
Deposited By: Dr.-Ing. Stefan Buckreuss
Deposited On:16 Mar 2012 16:01
Last Modified:16 Mar 2012 16:01

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