Affordable Access

Inter-agency comparison of TanDEM-X baseline solutions

Publication Date
  • Raumflugbetrieb Und Astronautentraining


TanDEM-X (TerraSAR-X add-on for Digital Elevation Measurement) is the first Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) mission using close formation flying for bistatic SAR interferometry. The primary goal of the mission is to generate a global digital elevation model (DEM) with 2 m height precision and 10 m ground resolution from the configurable SAR interferometer with space baselines of a few hundred meters. As a key mission requirement for the interferometric SAR processing, the relative position, or baseline vector, of the two satellites must be determined with an accuracy of 1 mm (1D RMS) from GPS measurements collected by the onboard receivers. The operational baseline products for the TanDEM-X mission are routinely generated by the German Research Center for Geosciences (GFZ) and the German Space Operations Center (DLR/GSOC) using different software packages (EPOS/BSW, GHOST) and analysis strategies. For a further independent performance assessment, TanDEM-X baseline solutions are generated at the Astronomical Institute of the University of Bern (AIUB) on a best effort basis using the Bernese Software (BSW). Dual-frequency baseline solutions are compared for a 1-month test period in January 2011. Differences of reduced-dynamic baselinesolutions exhibit a representative standard deviation (STD) of 1 mm outside maneuver periods, while biases are below 1 mm in all directions. The achieved baseline determination performance is close to the mission specification, but independent SAR calibration data takes acquired over areas with a well known DEM from previous missions will be required to fully meet the 1 mm 1D RMS target. Besides the operational solutions, single-frequency baseline solutions are tested. They benefit from a more robust ambiguity fixing and show a slightly better agreement of below 1 mm STD, but are potentially affected by errors caused by an incomplete compensation of differential ionospheric path delays.

There are no comments yet on this publication. Be the first to share your thoughts.