MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109. TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
Contact: Diane Ainsworth
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEMarch 15, 1999
NASA SOLICITS RESEARCH PROPOSALS FOR FUTURE, LONG-DURATION EARTH-
NASA has issued an announcement of opportunity for the
Lightweight Synthetic Aperture (LightSAR) mission, a proposed,
low-cost, long-duration advanced Earth imaging radar satellite
planned for launch in late 2002.
Proposals for mission development and operations using the
next generation, lightweight satellite are open to all types of
organizations, including educational institutions, industry,
nonprofit institutions, NASA field centers, federally funded
research and development centers and other governmental agencies.
The announcement of opportunity is available via the Internet at
http://www.earth.nasa.gov/nra/current/ . Proposals must be
submitted to NASA by May 10, 1999. A pre-proposal conference will
be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern time March 18 at the
Crystal City Sheraton in Arlington.
LightSAR is part of NASA's long-term interest in the
development and prosperous use of imaging radar science and
technology in the public and private sector. Past U.S. civilian
spaceborne radar missions, which have been short in duration,
have established the vast potential of imaging radar for
expanding scientific knowledge of Earth and planets.
LightSAR is the next step in delivering exciting Earth
science data that fulfills a fundamental part of NASA's Earth
Science strategic plan. While demonstrating new technologies
that reduce the cost and enhance the performance of synthetic
aperture radar missions, LightSAR will open new opportunities for
the U.S. commercial remote sensing industry.
LightSAR's all-weather, day-night remote sensing capability
and visibility almost anywhere on Earth is expected to result in
numerous scientifically valuable and commercially lucrative
applications. For example, LightSAR will have the unique
capability to continuously monitor minute changes in the Earth's
surface, down to the millimeter level, which will lead to
improved understanding of natural hazards such as earthquakes and
volcanoes. At the same time, these advanced capabilities will
greatly aid in the development of better emergency management
Other applications include studying the movements and
changing size of glaciers and ice floes, which will support long-
term climate variability studies. The forest regrowth and biomass
mapping data produced by LightSAR will support NASA's on-going
studies of land cover and land use change. LightSAR's high-
resolution imaging capability has significant commercial
potential for topographic mapping, surveillance, crop monitoring
and land management, planning and development as well.
The LightSAR program has goals that are scientific,
commercial and technological. This combination will create an
opportunity for proposers who wish to take advantage of
LightSAR's large commercial potential. One of the unique
features of the program will be to encourage proposers to share
in the costs of carrying out their investigations in return for
commercial rights to the data.
Requests for further information should be directed to
Richard M. Monson, associate director for Earth probes, at (202)
358-3552, or via email at email@example.com.
JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology,
Pasadena, CA, is managing the LightSAR project for NASA's Office
of Earth Science, Washington, DC, which oversees a long-term,
coordinated research enterprise designed to study Earth as a
global environmental system.