Satnews Daily
February 12th, 2019

Airbus and Hisdesat's Say It's a Flat World... Flattens TerraSAR-X / PAZ Radar Interferogram

A first was achieved when Airbus Defence and Space and Hisdesat Servicios Estratégicos, S.A. generated the first joint TerraSAR-X / PAZ Radar Interferogram demonstrating the missions’ capacity for cross-sensor interferometry, whose processing is among the most challenging.

Flattened TerraSAR-X/PAZ cross-interferogram (geocoded) over Burgan Oilfield, Kuwait

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. This 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 largest sandstone oil field with the total surface area of about 1,000 km².

As PAZ is positioned in the same orbit as TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X and features exactly identical ground swaths and acquisition modes, they all three form a high-resolution SAR satellite constellation, jointly exploited by Hisdesat and Airbus. With the launch of PAZ, the observation repeat cycle has been divided by half, which improves the monitoring of fast ground deformation phenomena that can endanger lives and infrastructures.

Hanjo Kahabka, Head of Production and Radar Constellation Manager at Airbus Defence and Space, Intelligence. said that this is a major step towards achieving the implementation of their TerraSAR-X / PAZ Radar Constellation. The level of accuracy obtained with this interferogram is a guarantee for their customers to continue to rely on the high quality standard they have set with TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X, but with an improved monitoring capacitiy. 

Miguel García Primo, Chief Operating Officer at Hisdesat added that in Hisdesat they 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 they have not only demonstrated the top performance of their PAZ satellite but its full compatibility with TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X. Now operation in constellation can become a reality and they will be able to provide to their customers full set of images and services with the constellation.