PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109. TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
Contact: Mary Hardin
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 6, 1997
TEAMS SELECTED TO STUDY POTENTIAL OF NEW RADAR IMAGING SYSTEM
Four industry teams have been selected to study potential
partnering arrangements to implement LightSAR, a proposed new
Earth-imaging satellite system that would use advanced
technologies to reduce the cost and enhance the quality of radar-
based information for scientific research, commercial remote-
sensing and emergency management applications.
LightSAR`s synthetic aperture radar measurements would
provide high-resolution images on a nearly continuous basis,
giving the project considerable capability to map changes in land
cover, generate topographic maps and provide long-term mapping of
natural hazards such as earthquakes, floods and volcanoes.
"With LightSAR we are attempting an innovative teaming
arrangement between government and industry to develop a mission
that meets both NASA's science objectives and industry's
commercial objectives," said Dr. Steven Bard, LightSAR pre-
project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena,
CA. "This unique teaming approach includes having industry share
in the cost of the mission, beginning with these studies."
"We are looking forward to working with the industry teams
in these studies, to define possible design and implementation
approaches, and to gain a better understanding of the potential
commercial market for LightSAR data products and services," Bard
said. "This knowledge will help the industry teams maximize the
private sector investment in LightSAR."
Potential commercial applications of LightSAR data include
mapping and cartography, crop monitoring and health assessment,
forestry management, resource exploration and environmental
monitoring, including oil spills and coastal zone monitoring.
"The results of these studies, especially as they relate to
proposed teaming and cost-sharing arrangements for the follow-on
phases, will help establish an appropriate implementation
approach, should NASA decide to proceed further with a LightSAR
mission," said William Townsend, acting associate administrator
for NASA's Office of Mission to Planet Earth, Washington, D.C.
Results of the studies, valued at $700,000 each, are due in
November 1997. Members of the four selected study teams, each
headed by a prime contractor, are:
-- DBA Systems Inc., Melbourne, FL (prime), and CTA Space
Systems of McLean, VA.
-- Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, CO (prime); Space
Imaging EOSAT, Lanham, MD; Autometric Inc., Alexandria, VA; Earth
Satellite Corp., Rockville, MD; ERDAS Inc., Atlanta, GA;
Environmental Research Institute of Michigan (ERIM), Ann Arbor;
Observera Inc., Alexandria, VA; Pacific Meridian Resources,
Portland, OR; User Systems, Inc., Chesapeake Beach, MD;
University of Michigan Radiation Laboratory, Ann Arbor, MI; and
Lockheed Martin Tactical Defense Systems, Phoenix, AZ.
-- Research & Development Laboratories (RDL), Culver City,
CA (prime); Spectrum Astro, Gilbert, AZ; Environmental Research
Institute of Michigan (ERIM), Ann Arbor; Harris Corp., Melbourne,
FL; Alenia Spazio, Rome, Italy; and Georgia Tech Research
-- Vexcel Corp., Boulder, CO (prime); Ball Aerospace &
Technologies Corp., Boulder, CO; EarthWatch, Inc., Longmont, CO;
SpaceTec, Hampton, VA; and South Dakota Space Technology Group,
Rapid City. Affiliate members include ERDAS Inc., Atlanta, GA;
University of Michigan Radiation Laboratory, Ann Arbor; Bechtel,
San Francisco, CA; Dynamics Technology Inc., Torrence, CA;
Cargill, Minnetonka, MN; Georgia-Pacific Corp., Atlanta; and CAL-
FED Bay-Delta Program, Sacramento, CA.
NASA's Stennis Space Center Commercial Remote Sensing
Program (CRSP), Stennis, MS, is managing the commercial
applications development effort for the LightSAR project, and
will assist the industry teams in conducting pilot applications
projects during the course of these studies.
JPL is managing the pre-project development of the LightSAR
mission for the Office of Mission to Planet Earth, which leads a
long-term, coordinated research enterprise designed to study the
Earth as a global environmental system. The goal of Mission to
Planet Earth is to develop a better scientific understanding of
the planet's natural environmental changes and to distinguish
between natural and human-made changes and impacts.