The TerraSAR-X is a German national SAR- satellite system for scientific and commercial applications. It is the continuation of the scientifically and technologically successful radar missions X-SAR (1994) and SRTM (2000) and will bring the national technology developments DESA and TOPAS into operational use.
The space segment of TerraSAR-X is an advanced high-resolution X-Band radar satellite. The system design is based on a sound market analysis performed by Infoterra. The TerraSAR-X features an advanced high-resolution X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar based on the active phased array technology which allows the operation in Spotlight-, Stripmap- and ScanSAR Mode with various polarizations. It combines the ability to acquire high resolution images for detailed analysis as well as wide swath images for overview applications. In addition, experimental modes like the Dual Receive Antenna Mode allow for full-polarimetric imaging as well as along track interferometry, i.e. moving target identification. The Ground Segment is optimized for flexible response to (scientific and commercial) User requests and fast image product turn-around times.
The TerraSAR-X mission will serve two main goals. The first goal is to provide the strongly supportive scientific community with multi-mode X-Band SAR data. The broad spectrum of scientific application areas include Hydrology, Geology, Climatology, Oceanography, Environmental Monitoring and Disaster Monitoring as well as Cartography (DEM Generation) and Interferometry.
The second goal is the establishment of a commercial EO-market in Europe which is driven by Infoterra. The commercial goal is the development of a sustainable EO-business so that the e.g. follow-on systems can be completely financed by industry from the profit. Due to its commercial potential, the TerraSAR-X project will be implemented based on a public-private partnership with the Astrium GmbH.
This paper will describe first the mission objectives as well as the project organisation and major milestones. Then an overview on the satellite as well as the SAR instrument is given followed by a description of the system design. Finally the principle layout of the TerraSAR-X Ground Segment and some remarks on the European context are presented.
After the success of Europe’s SAR satellites, ERS-1/2 and Envisat ASAR, of the German programs X-SAR culminating in the Shuttle Radar Topographic Mission (SRTM) and because of the on-going implementation of the nationally funded TerraSAR-X program the German Aerospace Centre, DLR, initiated and funded a study on future needs for spaceborne SAR-systems (SAFARI-Study). In this paper the most important results w.r.t. market needs, possible new SAR systems
and required technologies are outlined.