The construction of the German radar satellite TanDEM-X has been completed by the German Space Centre (DLR) and Astrium.

The 5m-long satellite will fly in formation with its sister satellite, the identical TerraSAR-X, for three years generating a digital elevation model of the earth’s land masses.

The close formation of between 200m and a few kilometres will allow the satellites to form a radar interferometer enabling them to take high-quality radar images and completely measure earth’s land surface in future.

The satellites will help generate a worldwide, consistent and homogeneous terrain model without discontinuity at regional or national borders.

TanDEM-X is a key project in extending German competence and competitiveness in satellite-based radar technology.

The satellite programme cost about €85m and was jointly funded by DLR that gave €59m and Astrium that financed €26m.

The satellite is expected to launch in October 2009 from Baikonur space centre after undergoing testing and final checks.