Airbus Defence and Space and Kongsberg Satellite Services (KSAT) have signed a multi-million-euro agreement for the delivery and installation of a Direct Receiving Station (DRS) for TerraSAR-X and its twin satellite TanDEM-X in Norway.
Through data reception at KSAT’s premises in Svalbard and processing in Tromsø, this system – scheduled to be operational by the end of 2014 – will support a globally unique near real-time capability that will in particular significantly enhance maritime monitoring services.
“This agreement will strengthen our position as an independent, near real-time multi-mission service provider in the global market,” said Jan Petter Pedersen, Vice President of KSAT. “This high-quality radar data is particularly valuable for our global oil spill and vessel detection services and for Arctic services, where updated and reliable information about ice and ice conditions is the key.”
Airbus Defence and Space will equip KSAT with one of the first of its multi-mission DRSs. Initially, the station will receive and process data from TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X. However, KSAT will also have the option of drawing on Airbus Defence and Space’s entire satellite constellation, including the Pléiades twins, SPOT 6 and the upcoming SPOT 7, as well as the future PAZ (owned and to be operated by Hisdesat).
“While KSAT has chosen to receive TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X data only at this point, Airbus Defence and Space’s highly flexible and cost-efficient multi-mission DRS gives the company the option to extend its reception services. The agreement includes the option to draw on the future radar satellite PAZ, scheduled to enter into operation in 2015,” said Bernhard Brenner, Head of Airbus Defence and Space’s Geo-Intelligence programme line.
Access to this northernmost receiving station will provide Airbus Defence and Space customers with improved near real-time services particularly valuable for regular monitoring applications. In parallel, KSAT will now be able to widely distribute TerraSAR-X/TanDEM-X SAR data to develop new and enhanced services on a global basis.
Among the many applications of the weather-independent TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X SAR satellites – owned by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and commercially exploited by Airbus Defence and Space – are maritime monitoring services like oil spill or vessel detection. They also support near real-time requirements for maritime safety during winter, given that X-band imagery enables precise detection, measurement and tracking of ice flows on a daily basis, including the prediction of future movements.
KSAT operates a ground station network consisting of the headquarter and the station in Tromsø, the high latitude stations at Svalbard and in Antarctica, and the four new mid-latitude stations in South-Africa, Dubai, Mauritius and Singapore. Combining the ground network capabilities and the near real-time value added services differentiates KSAT from other providers.
With this new DRS, Airbus Defence and Space extends its receiving station network of some 40 DRS worldwide – confirming its status as the largest in the world today.