German radar satellite TanDEM-X launched

German radar satellite TanDEM-X launched

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Germany: The German radar satellite TanDEM-X was successfully launched from Baikonur, Kazachstan, on June 21, 2010. TanDEM-X joins its twin TerraSAR-X, which has been in operation since mid 2007, in its 514 km orbit. Together, they will spend three years collecting stereo radar data for a global digital elevation model (DEM) of the Earth’s entire landmass. This DEM will feature a relative accuracy of better than 2 meters (10 meter absolute) for a 12 meter grid.

Dr. Vark Helfritz, Managing Director of Infoterra GmbH, said, “This successful launch is an important step forward for our company. Infoterra will conduct the commercial marketing of this unique global DEM.”

TanDEM-X has been launched under Public-Private Partnership (PPP) between the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) and Astrium GmbH. It was funded by the German Ministry of Industry and Technology (Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Technologie).

Infoterra will process the raw data supplied by the satellite system in accordance with specific customer requirements. The work involves removing any remaining spikes (peaks or outliers caused by noise) and offsets (can occur due to radar shadow particularly in mountainous terrain) in the data and editing the representation of expanses of water (ensuring a uniform water level and the right gradient of river courses).

Source: Infoterra and BBC