TerraSAR-X, a German Earth observation satellite, is a joint venture being carried out under a public-private-partnership between the German Aerospace Center DLR and EADS Astrium GmbH; the exclusive commercial exploitation rights are held by the geo-information service provider Infoterra GmbH. TerraSAR-X was launched on June 15, 2007 and has been in operational service since January 2008. Following the launch of a second sister satellite, TanDEM-X in early 2010, the two satellites act as a pair.
With its active phased array X-band SAR antenna (wavelength 31 mm, frequency 9.6 GHz), TerraSAR-X acquires new high-quality radar images of the entire planet whilst circling Earth in a polar orbit at 514 km altitude. The orbit is selected such that the satellite flies in a sun-synchronous dusk-dawn orbit, which means that it moves along the day-night boundary of the Earth and always presents the same face to the sun, ensuring an optimum energy supply via the solar cells. TerraSAR-X is designed to carry out its task for five years, independent of weather conditions and illumination, and reliably provides radar images with a resolution of up to 1m.
Satellites with radar technology are still relatively new compared to optical camera systems. The resolution (detail sharpness) is in principle lower, but radar has other advantages: radar is independent of illumination and weather conditions, so that acquisitions can be made at any time of the day or night and independent of cloud coverage. This contributes significantly to the reliability of the system a property that is required by many applications and users.
Early radar satellite techniques were e.g. the Altimetrie (leveling over the sea), NASA's SEASAT (launched in 1978), regulation of waves/wind or soil data. Nowadays we can measure for instance the speed of other satellites to mm/sec exactly (GRACE), and the slow deformation of volcanos. The military has used radar since the late 1930s and RADAR satellites at least since since 1978.
TerraSAR X exhibits some technical-industrial novelties. One of these innovations is a kind of zoom shot, with the resolution and scanning field vice versa changeable in a 1:10 relationship, either a larger area to grasp or a small area with the highest possible resolution. Furthermore the antenna can be aligned by electronics within an angle range so that the point of view is adjustable. Earlier radar satellites could radiate the antenna only in one direction.
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Volgograd Arena (45,000 spectators): An emotional World Cup venue. On the bank of the Volga, the new stadium was built against the backdrop of the war memorial "Mother's Homeland Calls". During construction, bones were found by soldiers of the Second World War.
Group matches: Tunisia - England (June 18); Nigeria - Iceland (22 June); Saudi Arabia - Egypt (25 June); Japan - Poland (June 28)
Mordovia Arena (45,000 spectators): On the outskirts of Saransk, the new building was launched in 2010, the 1000th anniversary of the unification of the Mordovian and Russian population. After the World Cup there will be a dismantling for tennis and volleyball fields.
Group matches: Peru - Denmark (16 June); Colombia - Japan (19 June); Iran - Portugal (25 June); Panama - Tunisia (June 28)
Samara Arena (45,000 spectators): The ambitious construction project in the forest just outside the city lagged behind the schedule for a long time.
Group matches: Costa Rica - Serbia (17 June); Denmark - Australia (21 June); Uruguay - Russia (25 June); Senegal - Colombia (June 28)
A knockout round, a quarter-finals | Source: REUTERS
Rostov on the Don-Arena (45,000 spectators): Right on the banks of the Don is the new arena. The roof of the new building should symbolize the course of the river. FK Rostov, who beat the Bavarians in the Champions League, is playing here after the World Cup.
Group matches: Brazil - Switzerland (17 June); Uruguay - Saudi Arabia (June 20); South Korea - Mexico (23 June); Iceland - Croatia (June 26th)
A knockout round | Source: REUTERS