PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109. TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011

Contact: Mary A. Hardin

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                January 10, 1994

       A major milestone for JPL's Spaceborne Imaging Radar C/ X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SIR-C/X-SAR) occurs today when the instrument begins preparations for critical electronic tests with a shuttle simulator at the Kennedy Space Center.

       SIR-C/X-SAR is scheduled for launch aboard the space shuttle Endeavour on April 7 as part of NASA's Space Radar Laboratory (SRL) and Mission to Planet Earth. Scientists will use the radar data collected by SIR-C/X-SAR to study Earth as an entire environmental system.

       The radar will be used to observe the vegetation structure and seasonal changes of forests and wetlands and to study geologic changes such as volcanic eruptions, major earthquakes and erosion.

       The radar instrument will be moved today to the Cargo Integrated Test Equipment stand at KSC to begin three weeks of tests and final preparations before being loaded into Endeavour's payload bay in mid-February.

       "This will verify the electrical interfaces and readiness before SIR-C/X-SAR is integrated with the space shuttle orbiter," said Mike Sander, JPL's SIR-C project manager. "This is a very intense period in our program."

       SIR-C, built by JPL and the Ball Communications Systems Division for NASA, is a two-frequency radar including L-band (23cm wavelength) and C-band (6-cm wavelength). SIR-C will have the capability to transmit and receive horizontally and vertically polarized waves at both frequencies.

       X-SAR is built by Dornier and Alenia Spazio companies for the German space agency, Deutsche Agentur fuer Raumfahrtangelegenheiten (DARA), and the Italian space agency, Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI). It is a single-polarization radar operating at X-band (3-cm wavelength).

       JPL manages SIR-C for NASA's Office of Mission to Planet Earth.


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1/10/94 MAH
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