TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X (0.25m)

  • X-band SAR satellite constellation
  • Weather independent
  • Multiple imaging modes and polarisation options (0.25m up to 40m)
  • High geometric and radiometric accuracy

Product Description

TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X (0.25m) – TSX and TDX

TerraSAR-X is a German synthetic aperture radar imaging satellite mission for scientific and commercial applications. It has a 1 metre resolution class radar satellite, which delivers Earth observation data for scientific, institutional and commercial users.

The science objectives are to make multi-mode and high-resolution X-band data available for a wide spectrum of scientific applications in such fields as: hydrology, geology, climatology, oceanography, environmental and disaster monitoring, and cartography (DEM generation) making use of interferometry and stereometry. The science potential of the mission is given by:

  • The high geometric and radiometric resolution (experimental 300 MHz Mode for very high range resolution)
  • The single, dual and quad polarization mode capability
  • The capability of multi-temporal imaging
  • The capability of repeat-pass interferometry
  • The capability of ATI (Along-Track Interferometry)

Both TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X (0.25m) carry X-band synthetic aperture radar sensors capturing imagery in a number of modes from ScanSAR (270km swath and 40m nominal spatial resolution) to Spotlight (4km swath and 0.25m spatial resolution) with most modes also available as either single or dual-polarisation. Operating in a twin satellite formation about 500m apart, TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X are collecting interferometric imagery for the creation of a quality global DEM.

Imagery can be programmed on demand. TerraSAR-X was launched in June 2007 and was joined by TanDEM-X in June 2010.

There is a wide variety of applications for TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X in geology, climatology, oceanography, environmental and disaster monitoring, and cartography, especially DEM generation.

The X-Band SAR delivers radar imagery in following modes:

  • Image Mode or Spotlight (up to 1 m resolution)
  • StripMap (up to 3 m resolution)
  • ScanSAR (up to 16 m resolution)


The Airbus/DLR X-Band constellation currently consists of TerraSAR-X, TanDEM-X and PAZ (in commissioning). TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X have an orbit repeat cycle of 11 days. The spatial resolution of TerraSAR-X modes is described in the table below.

Airbus/DLR TerraSAR-XStaring SpotLight0.25 m4 x 3.7 kmSingle: HH or VV
Airbus/DLR TerraSAR-XHigh Res SpotLight1 m10 x 5 kmSingle: HH or VV

Dual: HH + VV

Airbus/DLR TerraSAR-XSpotLight2 m10 x 10 kmSingle: HH or VV

Dual: HH + VV

Airbus/DLR TerraSAR-XStripMap3 m30 x 50 kmSingle: HH or VV

Dual: HH + VV or HH + HV or or VV + VH

Airbus/DLR TerraSAR-XScanSAR18.5 m100 x 150 kmSingle: HH or VV
Airbus/DLR TerraSAR-XWide ScanSAR40 m270 x 200 kmSingle: HH or VV or HV or VH