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Jump to: Mission Objectives, Mission Instrumentation, Mission Parameters, Additional Information

Mission Photos:

Courtesy of Infoterra GmbH

Mission Objectives:

TerraSAR-X is an X-band SAR mission for scientific reasearch and applications. It is the first satellite to be built in a public/private partnership in Germany. It carries the experimental Tracking, Occultation and Ranging (TOR) package provided by GFZ and CSR. TOR consists of a two-frequency CHAMP type GPS receiver and a CHAMP Laser Retro-Reflector (LRR).

The mission's objectives are:

  • the provision of X-band SAR-data for scientific research and applications as well as
  • the establishment of a commercial EO-market and to develop a sustainable EO-service business, based on TerraSAR-X derived information products.
Mission Instrumentation:

TerraSAR-X has the following instrumentation onboard:

  • Active phased array X-band SAR
  • Tracking, Occultation, and Ranging (TOR) package
    • GPS receiver
    • Retroreflector array
  • Laser Communication Terminal (LCT)
Mission Parameters:
Sponsor: Infoterra, DLR, GFZ (Germany)
CSR (U.S.)
Expected Life: 5 years
Primary Applications: research and applications
Primary SLR Application: precision orbit determination
COSPAR ID: 0702601
SIC Code: 6201
Satellite Catalog (NORAD) Number: 31698
Launch Date: June 15, 2007
NP Bin Size 5 seconds
RRA Diameter: 5 cm
RRA Shape: rectangular
Reflectors: 4 corner cubes
Orbit: sun-synchronous
Inclination: 97.44 degrees
Eccentricity: 0
Perigee: 514 km
Period: 11 days
Weight: 1,230 kg

Additional Information:

Web sites:


  • Arnold, D., Montenbruck, O.., Hackel, S., and K. Sosnica (2019), "Satellite laser ranging to low Earth orbiters: orbit and network validation", J. Geodesy: 93(11), pp. 2315-2334, DOI: 10.1007/s00190-018-1140-4.
  • Hackel, S., Gisinger, C., Balss, U., Wermuth, M., and O. Montenbruck (2018), "Long-Term Validation of TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X Orbit Solutions with Laser and Radar Measurements", Remote Sensing, 10(5), 762, DOI: 10.3390/rs10050762
  • Rizzoli, P., Martone, M., Gonzalez, C., et al. (2017), "Generation and performance assessment of the global TanDEM-X digital elevation model", ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, 132, pp. 119-139, DOI: 10.1016/j.isprsjprs.2017.08.008
  • Krieger, K., Zink M., Bachmann, M., et al. (2013), "TanDEM-X: A radar interferometer with two formation-flying satellites", Acta Astronautica, 89, pp. 83-98, DOI: 10.1016/j.actaastro.2013.03.008
  • Krieger, K., Moreira A., Fieldler, H., Hajnsek, I., Werner, M., Younis, M., and M. Zin (2007), "TanDEM-X: A Satellite Formation for High-Resolution SAR Interferometry", IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 45(11), 3317 - 3341, DOI: 10.1109/TGRS.2007.900693