Tuesday, 29 Jun, 2010 Current Events

New Satellite Sends First 3D Images of Earth Only a Week After the Launch


Recently the first images from a new Earth observation satellite, launched just about a week ago, have already been received.

It is worth mentioning researchers launched a pair of satellites with the goal of producing the most accurate 3D map of our planet so far. TanDEM-X together with TerraSAR-X, a twin satellite, will survey Earth from an altitude of 500 kilometers over a period of 3 years.

The research team received the first radar images only three and a half days after launching the TerraSAR-X satellite and according to project leader Manfred Zink from the German Aerospace Center (DLR) they managed to set a world record in this field.

One of the images of Moscow illustrates Sheremetyevo Airport, about 30km northwest of the city centre, with the two runways being clearly visible. Other pictures illustrate reservoirs, fields, moving trains, and even waves in the Indian Ocean near Madagascar.

According to Michael Bartusch, TanDEM-X project manager at the DLR Space Agency in Bonn, the team needs about 3 months to get the satellite ready for operational use, informs TGDaily.

At the end of this July TanDEM-X and TerraSAR-X will be brought 20 kilometers of one another. In October the two will be brought together to fly at an altitude of just 200 meters and record information as a joint "pair of eyes."

"Then we will begin with measurements of the entire Earth," mentioned Bartusch. Officially the first 3D pictures from the twin satellites will be received in January 2011.

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