Satellite launch 2.0 – SARah on its way into space

On 24 December 2023, the last two of a total three satellites were launched into space from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, USA. These two reflector satellites complete the SARah reconnaissance system.

A rocket is standing on a launch pad.

Owing to the conditions in space and other factors, the manufacturers guarantee a 10-year service life for the satellites. 

Compared to its predecessor, the SARSynthetic Aperture Radar-Lupe satellite reconnaissance system, the new system is significantly more powerful and only requires three satellites. The SARSynthetic Aperture Radar-Lupe system includes five reflector satellites which are smaller than the SARah satellites.

Germany is one of the leading nations in the field of radar satellites.

A rocket is standing on a launch pad.

After a successful “Launch Readiness Review”, the Falcon-9 rocket is standing on the launch pad and is ready for launch

Different coats of arms and logos can be seen on the satellite carrier.

Tried and tested cooperation: the Bundeswehr procurement office and the German Cyber and Information Domain Service Headquarters. The coats of arms are printed in large next to the manufacturer's logo and the Bundeswehr logo.


„Another step“ toward improved reconnaissance

In order to ensure a smooth launch, the two satellites were already transported from Ramstein Air Base in Rhineland-Palatinate to California on a USUnited States Air Force transport aircraft in mid-November. Subsequently, a number of final tests had to be carried out, which both satellites passed without any restrictions. These tests are part of the launch campaign. The final point is to get the "go" signal for the launch.

A rocket is standing on the launch pad in the dark.

Shortly before takeoff, the tension is rising

"With today's launch, we are not only completing the SARah constellation. This milestone is another step toward providing the troops with an improved reconnaissance capability independent of the time of day and the weather in future,”

said the project manager of the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support in Koblenz. The next objective is achieving full operational capability in the coming year.

The launch in the SpaceX video on YouTube

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The system start can now begin

After the launch, the "launch and early orbit phase" begins. During this phase, the systems and components are switched on one after another and checked for functional capability. These checks are necessary to ensure proper operation. In addition, protective locks will be removed, existing malfunctions corrected and the payload calibrated.

by Heike Westhöfer