Press Release

TerraSAR-X Scheduled for Launch from Baikonur on 27 February

By SpaceRef Editor
November 27, 2006
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TerraSAR-X Scheduled for Launch from Baikonur on 27 February

Friedrichshafen/Cologne – 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.

“Our business is already going strong: distribution partners and customers around the world are eagerly waiting for the first datasets,” says Joerg Herrmann, managing director of Infoterra GmbH. “Currently, we expect to be able to deliver the first preliminary data products to selected clients even prior to the spacecraft’s full operationality.”

TerraSAR-X’s full operationality is planned to be reached after five and a half months. Prior to this, scientists will support the mission calibration activities.

“Within the last year, we have received more than 200 proposals for scientific use of this new-quality data,” says Achim Roth, TerraSAR-X Science Coordinator at DLR Oberpfaffenhofen. “We are convinced that numerous interesting and promising developments will evolve in the next few years – all based on TerraSAR-X data.”

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. 

DLR is Germany’s national research centre for aeronautics and space. Its extensive research and development work is integrated into national and international cooperative ventures. As Germany’s Space Agency, the German federal government has given DLR responsibility for the forward planning and implementation of the German space programme as well as international representation of Germany’s interests. Throughout the TerraSAR-X Mission, DLR will run the so-called ground segment. This encompasses the infrastructure that is required to control the satellite in orbit as well as the complete value adding chain: ordering, data acquisition, data reception, image processing, archiving and delivery.    

Infoterra GmbH was launched in 2001 for the purpose of exclusively pursuing the exploitation of TerraSAR-X. The company is responsible for marketing not only TerraSAR-X data, but geo-information products and services derived from, or based upon, this data as well. Infoterra GmbH employs a workforce of 30 in Friedrichshafen and is part of the Infoterra Group, which comprises companies in France, Germany and the United Kingdom with more than 300 employees and a turnover of 50 million Euro per year.   

EADS Astrium is Europe’s leading satellite system 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.

SpaceRef staff editor.