Title: TanDEM-X: DEM acquisition in the third year era

Authors: Daniela Borla Tridon; Markus Bachmann; Daniel Schulze; Carlos Ortega-Míguez; Maria Donata Polimeni; Michele Martone; Johannes Böer; Manfred Zink

Addresses: Microwaves and Radar Institute, German Aerospace Center (DLR), 82234 Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany ' Microwaves and Radar Institute, German Aerospace Center (DLR), 82234 Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany ' Microwaves and Radar Institute, German Aerospace Center (DLR), 82234 Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany ' Microwaves and Radar Institute, German Aerospace Center (DLR), 82234 Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany ' Microwaves and Radar Institute, German Aerospace Center (DLR), 82234 Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany ' Microwaves and Radar Institute, German Aerospace Center (DLR), 82234 Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany ' Microwaves and Radar Institute, German Aerospace Center (DLR), 82234 Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany ' Microwaves and Radar Institute, German Aerospace Center (DLR), 82234 Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany

Abstract: TerraSAR-X add-on for digital elevation measurement (TanDEM-X) is a space-borne X-band SAR mission designed to derive a digital elevation model (DEM) of the Earth's land surface with an unprecedented relative vertical accuracy of 2 m at a 12 m posting. To achieve this goal, the two satellites fly in close controlled formation with the opportunity to adjust flexible along- and across-track baselines. A combination of multiple acquisitions with different baseline lengths is required to allow stable phase unwrapping and to achieve the high height accuracy. This paper provides an overview of the TanDEM-X acquisition plan for the third year over Antarctica, mountainous areas and deserts. Critical aspects of the areas to be acquired are presented and the acquisition strategy is illustrated. Moreover, the formation flight and the baselines are compared to the ones of the previous years in terms of their impact on the height of ambiguity and on the performance with respect to the interferometric quality.

Keywords: digital elevation model; digital elevation measurement; height of ambiguity; HoA; baseline; DEM acquisition timeline; Earth land surface; land surface modelling; satellites; formation flying; interferometric quality; SAR; synthetic aperture radar.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSPACESE.2013.059270

International Journal of Space Science and Engineering, 2013 Vol.1 No.4, pp.367 - 381

Received: 06 Aug 2013
Accepted: 10 Oct 2013

Published online: 16 Feb 2014 *

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