skip to main content

SpaceX rocket launches Germany's military radar satellite

An artistic impression of Airbus SARah-1 satellite. The platform weighs approximately 4,000 kg and was launched onboard SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on 18 June. (Airbus)

Germany's SARah-1 military radar Earth observation satellite was launched onboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on 18 June, Space X announced the same day.

The SARah-1 satellite, designed and built by Airbus, was launched from Space Launch Complex 4 East at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, Space X said.

According to the German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr), the SARah system – an abbreviation for synthetic aperture radar – will comprise three satellites and a ground segment to form a new reconnaissance system. It will replace the SAR-Lupe reconnaissance satellite system operational since 2008.

The SARah system combines an active phased-array antenna satellite, built by Airbus, and two passive reflector satellites, built by prime contractor OHB System AG and based on SAR-Lupe's reflector technology. It also involves two ground stations.

SARah intends to deliver high-resolution imaging of the Earth's surface for intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance purposes, regardless of weather and light conditions, the Bundeswehr said. It will also support early detection and management of crises, it added.

Airbus is also responsible for the launch, calibration, and validation of the radar satellite, with final in-orbit delivery, Airbus said.

OHB System AG reflector satellites will be launched by the end of the year, completing the SARah satellite constellation. The SARah satellites are expected to remain operational for at least 10 years, the Bundeswehr noted.

OHB System AG was awarded a contract in July 2013 for the development and integration of the SARah reconnaissance system.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...