17 May 2006 – The German Aerospace Center / German Space Agency DLR on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology and Europe’s leading satellite manufacturer EADS Astrium announced on May 17 at the Berlin Air Show ILA their intention to build a new satellite mission called TanDEM-X.
Following the official kick-off, development and manufacturing of the new German radar-satellite will now start at EADS Astrium’s Friedrichshafen plant. TanDEM-X is scheduled for launch in 2009. Together with the almost identical radar satellite TerraSAR-X which is to be launched in autumn this year, it will form a high-precision radar interferometer.
Like TerraSAR-X, the TanDEM-X project will be carried out within the scope of a public-private partnership between EADS Astrium GmbH and DLR. It settles the utilisation of data for scientific purposes under the management of the DLR Microwaves and Radar Institute and for commercial purposes, for which Infoterra GmbH (Friedrichshafen), a subsidiary of EADS Astrium GmbH, is exclusively responsible. The spacecraft will cost approximately 85 million Euro (USD 110 million), DLR will finance 56 million Euros.
With the aid of the tandem formation TerraSAR-X/TanDEM-X it will be possible to completely measure the Earth’s land surface, that is 150 million square kilometres, within a period of only 2.5 years. For a 12m grid (street width), height information can be determined with an accuracy of < 2 meters.