Airbus Defence and Space-built radar satellite heading for Baikonur
The Airbus Defence and Space-built radar satellite TanDEM-X is heading towards its launch pad at the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
On 12 May, an Antonov AN 124 airlifter took off from Munich’s Franz-Josef-Strauss Airport, headed for a stopover at Uljanovsk in Russia, prior to reaching its final destination of Baikonur.
TanDEM-X satellite is scheduled for lift-off on 21 June aboard a Dnepr launch vehicle.
Mapping the Earth in 3D
Flying in tandem with its ‘twin’ TerraSAR-X, which has been operational since 2007, this new radar satellite will enable the measurement of the whole of the Earth’s land surface (150 million km2). One mission goal is to produce a global Digital Elevation Model of unprecedented accuracy. For this purpose, TanDEM-X and TerraSAR-X form a radar interferometer: the satellites fly in close formation at a distance of only a few hundred metres, thus being able to take simultaneous terrain images from different perspectives.
This mapping procedure is currently unparalleled.