TerraSAR-X, a radar Earth observation satellite, is a joint venture being carried out under a public-private-partnership between the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and EADS Astrium. The exclusive commercial exploitation rights are held by the geo-information service provider Astrium. TerraSAR-X was launched on June 15, 2007 and has been in operational service since January 2008. With its twin satellite TanDEM-X, launched June 21, 2010, TerraSAR-X acquires the data basis for the WorldDEM, the worldwide and homogeneous DEM available from 2014.




  • mapping and updating of topographic and special maps as well as plans up to the scale of 1:10 000;

  • creation of DEM and DTM accurate to 2-4 m;

  • high-precision monitoring of infrastructure networks (pipelines, railways, telecommunications);

  • seismic hazard assessment, forecasting of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions;

  • monitoring of natural disasters (floods, movement of glaciers and so on), regardless of the weather and time of day;

  • maritime surveillance and ship detection;

  • mapping of crop conditions, assessment of contamination, identification of pests and crop diseases, precise agriculture;

  • mapping of forest stand, definition of forest species without ground research, monitoring of illegal logging and forest assessment;

  • control and management of the urban environment;

  • defense and security management.



  Launch date:

June 15, 2007


DDLR (German Aerospace Center) Airbus Defence and Space

  Launch Site:

Air Base Baikonur (Kazakhstan)

Launch vehicle:

RC Dnipro (Ukraine)


Airbus Defence and Space


 1250 kg



Circular sun-synchronous


514 km


97,44 deg.

Spec Mission Life:

   5 years

Spectral range (3,1 cm) - X
  Super high resolution(High Resolution SpotLight) High resolution
Wideband high resolution (StripMap) Middle resolution (SpotLight)
Nominal spatial resolution, m 2 3 16
Swath width, km 10х5 10x10 30х50 100х150
Downlink data rate to the ground segment, Mbit/s 300
Dynamic range, bits per pixel 16
Data format CEOS, GeoTIFF
Processing Radiometric, sensor and geometric correction. Bringing to cartographic projection,  creation of DEM and cartographic products
Revisit time , days 11 (sub cycle: 2,5 days)

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