TerraSAR Advancements & Next Generation - Mission Capabilities Supporting GMES
Schrage, Thomas; Janoth, Juergen; Bach, Katja; Tinz, Marek; Thiergan, Christian
Astrium GEO-Information Services - Infoterra GmbH, GERMANY
Astrium Geo-Information Services / Infoterra GmbH and ESA started their commercial relationship for the GMES Data Warehouse / TerraSAR-X with the first data framework contract already in 2009. In 2010 (Phase 1) and 2011 (Phase 2), TerraSAR-X was integrated as one of the first GMES Contributing Missions (GCM) into ESA's Coordinated Data Access System (CDS). From early 2011 on, a 24/7 service was established, addressing the demanding requirements of GMES Emergency Response Services (ERS). Also in 2011, the GMES Data Warehouse contract for the period 2011-2014 was established. In 2012 a special contract was signed to use TerraSAR-X as one recovery option for the loss of Envisat.
The TerraSAR-X satellite has been launched in 2007 and started its commercial operations early 2008, representing a large step in commercial Earth Observation as for the first time Very High Resolution X-band data operationally entered into market. Astrium Geo-Information Services / Infoterra GmbH owns the exclusive commercial exploitation rights for the TerraSAR-X and TanDEM data and services.
In 2010, TerraSAR-X was joined by its ''twin'' TanDEM-X. The two satellites have since been flying in a unique satellite formation, at a distance of only a few hundred metres apart. Synchronously they acquire the database for processing a global homogeneous Digital Elevation Model (WorldDEM TM), which will be available from 2014.
To comply with increased requirements on data freshness, especially from the Maritime and ERS segment, Astrium Geo-Information Services / Infoterra GmbH has constantly been upgrading TerraSAR's ground station network access. As a benefit, especially through improved polar station access and processing capabilities, Near-Real-Time delivery requirements can be served since early 2012.
In 2013, the product portfolio for TerraSAR-X will be enhanced with two new operational modes: (a) Staring Spotlight Mode - ST - with 0.8 m x 0.25 m resolution and (b) ScanSAR Wide - SCW - with 35m resolution and a footprint of 200 km x 800 km. Astrium GEO-Information Services is now also working with Hisdesat, the Spanish government satellite service operator of the PAZ radar satellite to establish a constellation approach with TerraSAR-X and PAZ which will be operational in 2014. Operating the two virtually identical satellites as a constellation will enhance a wide range of time-critical and data-intensive applications through shorter revisit times and increased data acquisition capacities. The planned TerraSAR Next Generation (TerraSAR-NG) System is intended to guarantee the TerraSAR-X data and service continuity beyond 2016 and to provide new very high-resolution products with improved performance parameters to the user community.
The TerraSAR-NG Mission will benefit from an advanced SAR sensor technology, allowing a spatial resolution down to 0.25 m depending on selected and allowable chirp bandwidth in the future. Besides the advanced Very High Resolution Modes, the TerraSAR-X2 satellite will provide heritage modes that allow direct continuity of TerraSAR-X data and improved wide swath modes to support large area applications. In addition, the TerraSAR-NG Mission will feature full polarimetry and improved near real time capabilities. The TerraSAR-NG Mission and potential extensions will be subject to a partnership model, ''WorldSAR'', in which partners can participate through co-investment, subscription, and ownership of additional satellites operated in constellation. Service continuity through TerraSAR-NG is intended to be ensured from 2016 until 2025, taking benefit of a 9.5 years satellite lifetime.