Germany establishes its own spy satellite system
BERLIN, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- The German military established its own spy satellite system by commissioning its first synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) system in Grafschaft, a small town in western Germany, on Thursday. The SAR system meant Germany no longer needed to depend on U.S. data, said Vice Admiral Wolfram Kuehn. "The Kosovo conflict in 1999 demonstrated to us how important it was to have your own worldwide reconnaissance capability." According to the report of DPA, the system consists of five satellites and a ground station in Grafschaft. The satellites can bounce radar pulses off the earth, and then through sophisticated computers, the returning signals are converted into a picture of the ground that can resolve features just 50 centimeters in width. Through this system Germany will be able to take radar pictures of any place of the earth without considering clouds or the darkness of night in about 10 hours, the time it takes for a satellite to arrive overhead and for the picture to be compiled, said Defense officials. The SAR system cost 350-million-euro (445-million-U.S. dollars)German system, code-named SAR-Lupe. It began to operate in the summer and was officially handed over to the military Thursday by the builders, OHB System. Germany will share the data with France, which operates Helios II military satellites that will provide supplemental photographs for the SAR system.