Excuses & TanDEM-X

I’ve been rarely writing on geoNotes recently. Mostly work (and life) has interferred with blogging. If you want specifics it’s largely because my teaching has reached epic proportions.

Still, I have had time for some fun stuff. Last week I was at the 4th TanDEM-X Science Team Meeting at DLR, Germany. Three days of talks about processing TanDEM-X (TDM) data, helical orbits, baselines and the height of ambiguity: heaven!

If you aren’t familar with TDM there is an introduction on the DLR website here. If you want more detail about the mission and data I’d recommend the excellent description in the CoSSC description document. It is quite technical but readable.

The TDM mission is really innovative. Two satellites, TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X, flying in formation as close as a few 10s of metres at times. The helical orbit allows the mission to collect data at varying baselines to support advanced interferometry. The satellites can both transmit and receive data meaning along track interferometry is supported, bi-static observations can be made, and all sorts of experimental synthetic aperture radar configurations can be tested. In the coming year the satellite orbits will be adjusted to permit huge baseline acquisitions (4 km separation between the satellites) to provide highly sensitive height measurements (for applications in snow, sea ice and vulcaonology for example).

TDM is setting the agenda for interferometric SAR. New techniques and algorithms are being developed using these data; lessons are being learned that will shape future operational missions. TDM will be followed by an L-band SAR constellation, TanDEM-L. More fun awaits!

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