Work Underway in Germany on Radar Satellite with 25-centimeter Resolution

BEIJING — Even because the U.S. and French governments debate whether or not to allow the industrial sale of optical Earth statement imagery sharper than 50 centimeters in decision, Astrium Geo-Data Providers of Germany is designing a next-generation radar satellite tv for pc with a 25-centimeter floor sampling distance, an Astrium official stated right here Sept. 24.

The satellite tv for pc, referred to as TerraSAR-X Subsequent Era, would offer information continuity to customers of the present two-satellite TerraSAR-X/TanDEM-X radar system that in 2014 will likely be complemented by the Spanish Paz radar satellite tv for pc.

TerraSAR-X, TanDEM-X and Paz satellites have sensors able to delivering pictures with a decision as sharp as 1 meter, that means they’ll detect objects of that diameter and above. When Paz is launched, the three satellites will likely be spaced 120 levels aside in a polar low-Earth orbit of 514 kilometers to cut back the period of time it takes for the 2 present satellites to revisit an space of curiosity.

Constructed by Astrium Satellites, Paz is owned by Hisdesat of Spain. The 2 firms have agreed to kind a single gross sales unit with frequent direct-access stations for customers to have the ability to course of Paz and TerraSAR-X/TanDEM-X information seamlessly.

To cut back the revisit time over a given space of the Earth to lower than 10 hours, the constellation would want to incorporate between three and 5 satellites, stated Thomas Schrage of Astrium.

The enterprise case for a second-generation TerraSAR-X has been difficult by the noninvolvement of the German Aerospace Heart, DLR, in its financing, and by the less-than-stellar gross sales of radar information. Astrium officers have stated a brand new product, referred to as World DEM, to be launched subsequent 12 months, ought to clinch the enterprise case for constructing the next-generation TerraSAR-X.

Astrium officers hope to make use of the work they’re performing for the German Protection Ministry, beneath contract to OHB AG of Bremen, Germany, on a second-generation German army radar reconnaissance system to construct TerraSAR-X NG.

In a presentation right here to the sixty fourth Worldwide Astronautical Congress, Schrage stated the second-generation TerraSAR-X might be launched in 2018.

Schrage steered that the German authorities has already accepted, in precept, the thought of a industrial satellite tv for pc distributing 25-centimeter-resolution information on a industrial foundation with a selected data-sales legislation. One other German business official disputed that, saying the federal government has reached no resolution on whether or not it is going to loosen its present 50-centimeter restrict on decision.

Utilizing aerial imagery, Schrage offered side-by-side pictures of what’s discernible with TerraSAR-X’s 1-meter imagery and what’s attainable at 25 centimeters. The distinction was putting.

Confirming German authorities coverage and proving the enterprise case to Astrium administration — which has already licensed spending some $400 million on the French Spot 6 and Spot 7 satellites with none French authorities assist or authorities data-sales commitments — aren’t the one hurdles to TerraSAR-X NG.

The satellite tv for pc system would transmit information in X-band at 1,200 megahertz — frequencies that aren’t but licensed for this objective by the Worldwide Telecommunication Union (ITU), a United Nations affiliate that regulates wi-fi broadcast frequencies.

The ITU’s governing physique is scheduled to satisfy in 2015, and the 1,200-megahertz spectrum’s use for Earth statement transmissions is anticipated to be on the agenda.

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