SAR data is so out of this world that they always have to invent new data formats to put it in and present it to the end-user. Terrasar-X is no exception, with a new satellite comes a new format. Thankfully DLR has ditched the ever so complicated and CEOS format , which is as not standard as it could be, with simple georeferenced tif files with XML metadata.
This approach is very similar to the data format for RADARSAT-2 , which is quite elegant and richly supported in GDAL (betraying the Canadian roots of the principal author). Now everything would be fine if RADARSAT-2 weren't more that 5years delayed and still scheduled to be launched in this year December.
For the complex data in all modes DLR invented a new format - COSAR. Specifications have been out for a while but no format support was worth building till TerraSAR-X won the race for next generation space-borne SAR sensor in X-Band. Now ironically, another Canadian has added TerraSAR-X format support to GDAL , using the specifications only, which works perfectly for stripmap cosar data. Time to move onto supporting the orbital information and slant-to-ground range conversion.