German Bundeswehr’s first of three Airbus-built SARah Earth observation satellites, SARah-1, is being readied for launch on 18 June.
The new SARah system will replace the SARSynthetic Aperture Radar-Lupe reconnaissance satellites.
SARah-1 has been transported from Germany to the launch site at the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, US.
It will first be subjected to system-specific tests in the preparation hall at the launch site.
The satellite-based radar reconnaissance system will then go to the refuelling hall, before final integration into the SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket.
According to the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw), the launcher will take approximately 40 minutes after the engines’ ignition to release the 4t SARah satellite into the space.
SARah-1 has been developed by Airbus Defence and Space in Friedrichshafen, which is also responsible for the launch, calibration and validation of the satellite, with final in-orbit delivery.
In March 2018, BAAINBw contracted OHB System in Bremen, Germany, for the development and integration of the satellite. Airbus was appointed as the main subcontractor.
The SARah system’s overall architecture includes a space segment with three radar satellites (two by OHB, one by Airbus) and a ground segment connected to two ground stations, designed and built by German manufacturers.
Besides, individual components and assemblies were developed by international suppliers and were integrated by German manufacturers after successful acceptance.
The integration phase involved several interfaces and functional tests to ensure satellites do not suffer damage during launch and can safely send data to the SARah ground segment during subsequent space operations.