Airbus and Hisdesat successfully process first TerraSAR-X radar imagery

Stephen Kuper

Airbus Defence and Space, in partnership with Hisdesat Servicios, have generated the first joint TerraSAR-X/PAZ radar interferogram, marking a major milestone and a demonstration of the capacity for cross-sensor optical sensor reflection, otherwise known as interferometry.

Airbus and Hisdesat successfully process first TerraSAR-X radar imagery
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Interferograms are typically used to derive the topographic elevation and deformation of the Earth’s surface, and are created using at least two different images acquired at different date.

The flattened cross-sensor interferogram has been created from a mixed image pair with four days temporal separation acquired by TerraSAR-X and PAZ (StripMap scenes from 22 and 26 November 2018). The area covers the oil and gas production site Burgan (Kuwait) and parts of the Persian Gulf. The oil field is the world's largest sandstone oil field with a total surface area of about 1,000 square kilometres.

Hanjo Kahabka, head of production and radar constellation manager at Airbus Defence and Space said, "This is a major step towards achieving the implementation of our TerraSAR-X/PAZ Radar Constellation. The level of accuracy obtained with this interferogram is a guarantee for our customers to continue to rely on the high quality standard we have set with TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X, but with an improved monitoring capacity."

As PAZ is positioned in the same orbit as TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X and features exactly identical ground swathes and acquisition modes, all three form a high-resolution SAR satellite constellation, jointly exploited by Hisdesat and Airbus.

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"In Hisdesat we are very proud of reaching this milestone. Interferometry is one of the most technically demanding applications and thanks to this successful joint exercise with Airbus we have not only demonstrated the top performance of our PAZ satellite but its full compatibility with TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X," Miguel García Primo, chief operating officer at Hisdesat, said. 

Airbus is a global leader in aeronautics, space and related services and offers a comprehensive range of passenger airliners from 100 to more than 600 seats. Airbus is also a European leader providing tanker, combat, transport and mission aircraft, as well as a leading space company.

Hisdesat was started in 2001 as an operator of satellite government services to act fundamentally in the areas of defence, security, intelligence and external services. Since 2005, the company provides secure satellite communications services to government agencies in different countries and since September 2018, it provides Earth observation services with radar technology through the PAZ satellite, successfully launched on 22 February.

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