Friedrichshafen/Cologne, Germany, 23 November 2006 – The German radar satellite TerraSAR-X will be launched from Baikonur on 27 February 2007 on a Dnepr-1 rocket. This new launch date has now been announced by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) along with its industrial partners Astrium GmbH and Infoterra GmbH, responsible for the commercial exploitation of TerraSAR-X data.
The launch originally planned for 31 October 2006 had to be shifted after an unsuccessful launch of a rocket of the same type last summer. The single cause of this launch mishap was discovered and, after considering all necessary preparatory activities, 27 February has been selected as the new launch date.
TerraSAR-X is the first German satellite to be built in a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) between DLR and EADS Astrium. Europe’s leading satellite system specialist, EADS Astrium, contributes to the cost of development, construction and deployment of the spacecraft. The scientific exploitation of TerraSAR-X data will be conducted by DLR, while Infoterra GmbH is responsible for the commercial marketing.
Circling Earth on a polar orbit at an altitude of 514 kilometres, TerraSAR-X, with its active antenna, will collect new-quality X-band radar data of the entire planet. The satellite will operate independent of weather conditions, cloud coverage and illumination, and will be capable of delivering data at a resolution of up to 1 metre.
TerraSAR-X is the culmination of a long and successful scientific and technological development effort in Germany, which began at the end of the 1970s with the keen support of DLR’s Space Agency. In April and September 1994, two X-SAR (X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar) experiments flew on the Space Shuttle, each mission lasting about 10 days.
They operated in conjunction with NASA’s SIR-C (Spaceborne Imaging Radar – C-Band) radar system. With the success of the two X-SAR missions, the radar instrument was further developed into an interferometer and in February 2000, the technology was again used in conjunction with NASA on the SRTM (Shuttle Radar Topography Mission).