TanDEM-X delivers first 3D images

On 22 July 2010, researchers at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) facility in Oberpfaffenhofen published the first 3D images from the TanDEM-X satellite mission. Just one month after the launch of TanDEM-X (TerrraSAR-X add-on for Digital Elevation Measurement), which took place on 21 June 2010, DLR researchers have created the first digital elevation model – almost a week ahead of schedule. A group of Russian islands in the Arctic Ocean was selected for the first test.

The first successful experiment is the starting point for more 3D images. Close approach of the satellites also allowed acquisition of test images at lower latitudes. Shortly after the first acquisition, the opportunity arose to image a 50 x 30 kilometre area in the southern Russian region of Kalach on Don, about 100 kilometres northwest of Volgograd. This area was the target of the very first TerraSAR-X radar acquisition.

"This new elevation data give an idea of the Digital Elevation Model products that will be available from the TanDEM-X mission. For the first time, one sees the small height differences in roads, field boundaries and rivers. This opens up fantastic prospects for the application of this data – for example, for the prediction of flooding areas in the event of a disaster," said the DLR engineer responsible for processing the elevation model data, Thomas Fritz.
Source: DLR