TerraSAR-X performance confirmed by US National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)

  • NGA's CCAP Group evaluates and verifies TerraSAR-X's outstanding geolocation accuracy
  • Commercial radar satellite data at 1m and 3m resolution exceeds NGA's purchase requirements
Baltimore, MD (USA) / Friedrichshafen (Germany), March 12, 2009

The superb accuracy defined in the TerraSAR-X data product specifications has now been confirmed by the Civil and Commercial Applications Project (CCAP) Group within the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA): The group published the results of their geolocation accuracy evaluation of TerraSAR-X radar satellite imagery during the ASPRS Annual Conference in Baltimore this week.

In a contribution titled "Geometric Precision in Space Radar Imaging: Results from TerraSAR-X", Thomas P. Ager, NGA System Engineer for Radar, and his co-author Paul Bresnahan of Observera Inc. describe the evaluation processes and parameters applied to 13 high-resolution SpotLight and another 13 StripMap acquisitions. These were collected in single-polarization (VV) mode, generated as Multi-look Ground-range Detected (MGD) products with Spatially-Enhanced (SE) processing, and included the rapid orbit metadata.

Ager confirms that "the results of this evaluation are consistent with the accuracy values listed in the product specification", and even adds that "it is plausible that the TerraSAR-X accuracy is even better".

Orbit errors are as small as 20 centimeters for routine images available within 1 day of collection, and range errors of well under 1 meter are verified: "We believe these claims because our test results show that TerraSAR-X SpotLight imagery has an overall ground accuracy of 1 meter and possibly even less, when projected to known elevations," states Ager.

NGA's CCAP regularly performs geolocation accuracy evaluations for civil and commercial imagery being purchased or considered for purchase by the Agency. To Infoterra, holder of the exclusive commercial exploitation rights for TerraSAR-X data and provider of numerous services based on this data, "the independent confirmation of the spacecraft's performance by such a renowned institution is of course of immense value," states Joerg Herrmann, Managing Director of the German EADS Astrium subsidiary. "This endorsement will surely support our growing sales activities in the North American market."

About Infoterra

Infoterra, wholly owned by Europe’s leading space company EADS Astrium, is a leading provider of geo-information products and services for managing the development, environment and security of our changing world. With entities in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain and Hungary, its customers include international corporations, governments and authorities around the globe, and organisations such as the European Commission (EC) and the European Space Agency (ESA).

Infoterra operates across a comprehensive range of markets - communications, environment, security, agriculture, defence, oil & gas exploration and many more. Furthermore, Infoterra holds the exclusive commercial exploitation rights for the high-resolution radar satellite TerraSAR-X, and plays a leading role in geoinformation services within the European GMES initiative of the EC and ESA.

Infoterra, together with Spot Image, form the Earth Observation Division of EADS Astrium Services.

About TerraSAR-X

The TerraSAR-X Earth observation satellite is a joint venture being carried out under a public-private-partnership between the German Aerospace Center DLR and EADS Astrium GmbH. At DLR, a team of four institutes is responsible for implementing the mission in collaboration with the space agency. EADS Astrium GmbH developed, built and launched the satellite; the exclusive commercial exploitation rights are held by the geo-information service provider Infoterra GmbH. TerraSAR-X was launched on June 15th, 2007 and has been in operational service since January 2008.

For a collection of TerraSAR-X imagery, please visit:


Mareike Doepke
Tel.: +49 7545 8 3924 M +49 171 793 7253
E-mail: Email Contact
Web: www.infoterra.de

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