Astrium Enhances TerraSAR-X Resolution and Coverage Capabilities

Two new TerraSAR-X acquisition modes boost applications in the maritime and defence & security domains.  

New Staring SpotLight mode provides 25cm data - the highest resolution commercial SAR imagery available on the market.

Up to 400,000km² in a single acquisition with new TerraSAR-X Wide ScanSAR mode - independent of weather and daylight conditions.

8 October 2013 – Astrium, Europe’s leading space technology company, has launched two new TerraSAR-X imaging modes. The enhanced imaging capabilities facilitate the delivery of higher resolution imagery as well as the coverage of larger areas.

The new Staring SpotLight mode features a resolution of down to 25 cm - unrivalled by any other commercial SAR system. This unprecedented resolution combined with an enhanced radiometric quality takes SAR-based object detection and recognition to a new level. Staring SpotLight data allows an identification of even small-scaled objects and an easier interpretation of SAR imagery by revealing crucial details. This can facilitate the identification of determining features of e.g. vehicles, vessels or airplanes. Staring SpotLight images cover an area of appr. 4 x 3.7km² (scene size can vary depending on the incidence angle).

For the new Wide ScanSAR mode the ground swath of TerraSAR-X has been increased from 100km to 270km at a spatial resolution of 40m. This gives the satellite coverage of up to 400.000km², more than half of the North Sea surface area, in a single acquisition - independent of weather and daylight. The large area coverage and weather independent acquisition supports ship detection and tracking, oil spill detection as well as monitoring of sea ice, contributing to the safety and efficiency of maritime activities around the globe.

”With the two new modes we are in an even better position to serve the needs of our customers particularly in the defence & security and maritime surveillance domains. And these new modes will also be available with PAZ, the TerraSAR-X twin satellite, scheduled for launch in 2014. Their orbit phasing will boost revisit times and enhance acquisition capabilities to support a wide range of all-weather monitoring tasks,” explains Dr. Vark Helfritz, Managing Director of the Geo-Information business at Astrium Services in Germany.

The implementation of the two new modes was achieved through an upgrade of the TerraSAR-X space, ground and service segments jointly provided by Astrium Services and the German Aerospace Centre DLR.

About Astrium  

Together, pioneering excellence

Astrium is the number one company in Europe for space technologies and the second in the world. It is the only global company that covers the full range of civil and defence space systems, equipment and services.

In 2012, Astrium had a turnover over €5.8 billion and 18,000 employees worldwide.

Its three business units are: Astrium Space Transportation, the European prime contractor for launchers, orbital systems and space exploration; Astrium Satellites, a leading provider of satellite system solutions, including spacecraft, ground segments, payloads and equipments; Astrium Services, the Space services partner for critical missions, providing comprehensive fixed and mobile solutions covering secure and commercial satcoms and networks, and bespoke geo-information services, worldwide.

Astrium is a wholly owned subsidiary of EADS, a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2012, the Group  comprising Airbus, Astrium, Cassidian and Eurocopter  generated revenues of €56.5 billion and employed a workforce of over 140,000.


Jeremy Close
(Astrium UK)                                      
Tel.: +44 (0)1 438 77 3872

Gregory Gavroy
(Astrium FR)                    
Tel.: +33 (0) 1 77 75 80 32

Ralph Heinrich
(Astrium GER)                                   
Tel.: +49 (0) 89 607 33971

Francisco Lechón
(Astrium SP)                                  
Tel.: +34 91 586 37 41

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