UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


Satellites Support International Missions of the German Armed Forces

TerraSAR tandem for 3D reconnaissance

ILA/Berlin, Friedrichshafen, 10 May 2004

In the future, the armed forces of the European states will increasingly base their operations on satellites. Thus, EADS Astrium, the leading European space company, is studying missions in the fields of application, i.e. communication, reconnaissance, early warning and missile defence. The enhanced evaluation of radar data from reconnaissance satellites with the help of a global 3D map is also under preparation.

In many countries the use of satellites is of great importance to the military commanders. In Germany, however, this issue has only been discussed with high priority since the German Armed Forces support the international peacekeeping missions of the United Nations and NATO.

A first step has been made by placing an order for the development of a reconnaissance satellite. Prior to the planned operation of the radar satellite system starting in 2006, the preparations for data evaluation on the ground are already in full swing. Support is to be provided by a global digital terrain model of unprecedented accuracy which – in accordance with a mission proposal by EADS Astrium – could be supplied by a tandem consisting of two identical TerraSAR-X satellites. Within a public-private partnership, the first TerraSAR-X radar satellite is being developed and built by EADS Astrium, Friedrichshafen, in cooperation with the German Aerospace Centre (DLR)

At present, DLR has commissioned a study for a mission using a second TerraSAR-X satellite for a tandem flight (called TanDEM-X) lasting for up to five years. Both satellites form a large radar interferometer. In a close, precisely controlled formation flight they generate 3D images of a relative height accuracy of less than two meters.

These images can be used for acquiring the Earth as a digital terrain model of unprecedented quality and not only for improving reconnaissance, as described. Such data can also be used for scientific purposes, e.g. in hydrology or for measuring the ocean currents. The commercial utilisation of TerraSAR-X data is also enhanced. Examples are the planning activities for transmission lines or transmit and receive stations in telecommunications. Traffic flow monitoring, both in the air and on the roads, will also benefit from the novel satellite data.

EADS Astrium is Europe's leading satellite specialist. Its activities cover complete civil and military telecommunications and Earth observation systems, science and navigation programmes, and all spacecraft avionics and equipment.

EADS Astrium is a wholly owned subsidiary of EADS SPACE, which is dedicated to providing civil and defence space systems. In 2003, EADS SPACE had a turnover of more than 2.4 billion euros and about 12,000 employees in France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain.

EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2003, EADS generated revenues of 30.1 billion euros and employed a workforce of more than 100,000.

Friedrichshafen, May 2004/04012

Press contact:
Tel.: +33 (0) 1 34 88 35 78

Alistair SCOTT
Tel.: +44 (0) 1438 77 3698

Mathias PIKELJ
Tel.: +49 (0) 7545 8 91 23

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list