Launch date announced for SAR Lupe
Inverse test successful - transport to site of final test series imminent
The first of five SAR Lupe satellites has been completed by the Bremen aerospace company OHB-System AG. At the Flight Readiness Review held on September 19 and 20, 2006, the principal – the Federal Office of Defense Technology and Procurement (BWB) – gave the go-ahead for the continuation of the project and also confirmed its announced launch date. The first SAR Lupe satellite is scheduled for launch into orbit from the Russian spaceport in Plesetsk on board a COSMOS 3M rocket on December 19, 2006. The other four satellites are due to follow at intervals of four to six months.
To demonstrate the capabilities of the satellite even before its launch, vari-ous inverse tests were carried out again last week. In a test procedure that is unique to date, the satellites on the ground were aligned so as to target the International Space Station ISS and then took high-resolution radar im-ages of the space station in orbit. This is the inverse of the procedure that will be performed once the satellite becomes operational. This test has been carried out successfully several times at the Bremen site. The anticipated resolution of the images was achieved in every test. To allow a meaningful comparison, the Forschungsgesellschaft für Angewandte Naturwissenschaften (Research Institute for Applied Natural Sciences, FGAN), provided radar images that were taken at the same time.
Today, Thursday, the first SAR Lupe satellite leaves the integration hall of OHB in Bremen for a final, comprehensive series of tests at the satellite test center of the IABG in Ottobrunn. The series includes vibration, thermal and electromagnetic compatibility testing. During the tests, the satellite will be subjected to the kind of conditions it will encounter during the launch and during its ten-year operational span in space.