The success story is continuing: SAR-Lupe 4 successfully launched
The fourth German SAR-Lupe reconnaissance satellite was launched at 18:15 hours from the Russian space center Plesetsk south of Archangelsk. The Cosmos 3M launch vehicle which was carrying the radar satellite released it into its intended orbit around half an hour later. After roughly 90 minutes, a direct contact was established between the control center and the satellite. Preliminary tests have confirmed that the fourth SAR-Lupe satellite is also working properly. Accordingly, work commenced on putting it into operation last night. 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 in around four weeks, at which point in time the radar payload will go into use. The German Federal Armed Forces have been utilizing the system since December 2007 and are extremely pleased with the image quality.
In orbit since December 2006 and July and November 2007, respectively, the first three SAR-Lupe satellites are supplying outstanding high-resolution images and operating very successfully and reliably. SAR-Lupe 4 is identical in construction to the previous satellites. As they are operating perfectly, not even minor adjustments were necessary.