TanDEM-X and TerraSAR-X

What is this data?

The data was collected by a German Earth observation satellite, launched in 2007 and in fully operational service since January 2008. TerraSAR-X acquires new high-quality radar images with its active phased array X-band SAR antenna (frequency 9.6 GHz, wavelenght 31 mm).

TanDEM-X (TerraSAR-X add-on for Digital Elevation Measurement) is the twin satellite of TerraSAR-X but also the name of the satellite mission flying both satellites in a closely controlled formation. The main objective of the mission is generation of a consistent global DEM with an unprecedented accuracy.

Unique design of satellite’s SAR antenna allows a variety of polarimetric acquisitions.

Three main imaging modes:

  • SpotLight: up to 1m resolution, scene size 10 km x 5 km (width x length)
  • StripMap: up to 3m resolution, scene size 30 km x 50 km (width x length)
  • ScanSAR: up to 18 m resolution, scene size 100 km x 150 km (width x length)

Where is it available?

TerraSAR-X images covering Iceland were collected between 2008-present and are available on ‘Askja’ remote computer (askja.rhi.hi.is) at The University of Iceland. Because the satellite is still operating, the database of Single Look Slant Range Complex (SSC) StripMAP images increases.

For access and a list of available images please contact Freysteinn Sigmundsson (fs@hi.is).


  1. http://www.astrium-geo.com/terrasar-x/
  2. http://terrasar-x-archive.infoterra.de/
  3. http://ilrs.gsfc.nasa.gov/missions/satellite_missions/current_missions/tsar_general.html