Second SAR-Lupe satellite also successfully launched
Reconnaissance system available to the German Armed Forces as of the autumn
The second satellite in the SAR-Lupe system has been placed successfully in orbit. The Russian Cosmos 3M launch vehicle lifted off last night from the Russian Plesetsk space center, south of Archangelsk, on schedule at 21:38:41 hours CEST. Roughly half an hour later, it released the radar satellite into its low-earth orbit at an altitude of roughly 500 km.
The first sign of life from the satellite was picked up by the ground station Kerguelen in the Southern Indian Ocean at 22:41 hours, with direct contact established between the control center and the satellite as planned 92 min. after launch. Preliminary testing indicates that SAR-Lupe 2 is working perfectly in its orbit. Accordingly, work commenced last night on putting the satellite in operation. In a preliminary highlight, the antenna boom was deployed.
Satellite control is currently in the hands of the German Space Agency DLR in Oberpfaffenhofen. The ground station of the German Armed Forces in Gelsdorf is tracking the satellite at the same time and will assume operative responsibility for it at the end of July, at which point in time it will start collecting SAR radar images. The German Armed Forces are already able to use the system. With the second launch and ensuing ramp-up of the satellite, the German Federal Armed Forces will have an operational reconnaissance system as of autumn 2007. The first SAR-Lupe satellite has been in orbit since December 2006. It is supplying superb high-resolution images and is operating very successfully and reliably.
The remaining three satellites will be launched in intervals of around four months, with the entire system to be completed in 2008.
OHB-System is the primary contractor for SAR-Lupe, Germany’s first satellite-based radar reconnaissance system. It comprises five satellites and a corresponding ground segment for controlling the satellites and receiving, processing and evaluating image data. The system works day and night regardless of the weather and supplies immediate and highly detailed radar images of virtually any area of the earth.
COSMOS 3M launch vehicle
OHB-System AG has been working very successfully with Russian space travel company POLYOT, Omsk, since the beginning of the nineties. Developed by POLYOT back in the sixties, the COSMOS launch vehicles have proven themselves in over 770 missions. With a success rate of over 97%, it is one of the world’s most reliable launch systems. The COSMOS launch vehicle is ideal for transporting small satellites to low-orbit positions.
SAR-Lupe a part of the European Reconnaissance System
SAR-Lupe will be forming part of the European Reconnaissance System. Under the ESGA project (German acronym for “Europeanization of Satellite-Based Reconnaissance”), OHB-System is creating the technical basis for allowing France to use the German SAR-Lupe radar system. In return, Germany will be able to access the French optical HELIOS II system.