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We have lift-off: Siemens Austria supplies software to control German TerraSAR-X satellite


TerraSAR-X, the German radar satellite, will find its way in space thanks to software provided by Siemens IT Solutions and Services. One of the solutions developed was the control software for the space-borne eye’s high-tech testing and ground control systems, commissioned by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and Astrium GmbH. The satellite is due to be launched into orbit around Earth on June 15, 2007 from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Siemens developed key components of the mission control center for use during construction and operation of the satellite, and will also look after maintenance and repair work, which will center around the ’Spacecraft Control and Operations System’ for controlling and monitoring the five-meter long, 1230-kilo satellite throughout its five-year mission. The system, which was originally developed by the European Space Agency (ESA), was further adapted and developed for the TerraSAR-X mission by Siemens IT Solutions and Services.

Siemens implemented a special database solution, which documents the satellite’s entire lifecycle and compiles all data concerning the control, propulsion, positioning and configuration of the satellite: this includes each and every command sent to, and every item of operating information received from, the satellite. The database is set to grow to seven terabytes during the course of the mission.

The Mission Control System provided by Siemens was already operating as a test system several months before the launch of the satellite, during which time it was subjected to rigorous testing by Astrium in the construction phase.

So the German satellite also has some Austrian heritage, since the solutions also came from Siemens IT Solutions and Services’ space business in Austria.

Images are available here:

TerraSAR-X is the first German satellite to be developed as part of a Public Private Partnership (PPP) between the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and Astrium GmbH (Friedrichshafen). As Europe’s leading satellite specialist, Astrium covered the costs associated with developing, building and deploying the satellite. DLR is responsible for the scientific objectives of TerraSAR-X and for its operation. Infoterra GmbH is a subsidiary of Astrium that was established to look after commercial marketing of the data gathered by the satellite. TerraSAR-X will circle the Earth at a height of 514 kilometers on a polar orbit, recording new and high-quality X-band radar data from the entire planet with its active antenna. TerraSAR-X will operate for five years, unaffected by weather conditions, cloud cover and daylight, and will be able to provide radar data at a resolution of up to 1 meter.

Siemens IT Solutions and Services is an internationally leading provider of IT solutions and services. It covers the entire IT service chain from a single source, from consulting to system integration, right through to the management of IT infrastructures. In addition, Siemens IT Solutions and Services extends the range of offerings of the other Siemens Groups to include software developments and IT solutions. With its comprehensive know-how and industry-specific knowledge, Siemens IT Solutions and Services provides measurable added value for its customers. Founded in January 2007, the new Siemens Group employs around 43,000 people and posts annual sales of about 5 billion euros according to U.S. GAAP, of which some 60 percent are generated outside of the Siemens group. More information at:


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