This image was produced during radar observations taken by the Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C/X-band Synthetic Aperture Radar as it flew over the Gulf Stream, Florida, and past the Atlantic Ocean on October 7, 1994. The data were produced using the X-band radar frequency. Knowing ahead of time that this region would be included in a regularly scheduled radar pass, the Kennedy Space Center team, who assembled and integrated the SIR-C/X-SAR equipment with the Spacelab pallet system, designed a set of radar reflectors from common construction materials and formed the letters "KSC" on the ground adjacent to the main headquarters building at the entrance to the Cape Canaveral launch facility. The point of light formed by the bright return from these reflectors are visible in the image. Other more diffuse bright spots are reflections from building faces, roofs and other large structures at the Kennedy Space Center complex. This frame covers an area of approximately 6 kilometers by 8 kilometers (4 miles by 5 miles), which was just a small portion of the data taken on this particular pass.
Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C and X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SIR-C/X-SAR) is part of NASA's Mission to Planet Earth. The radars illuminate Earth with microwaves allowing detailed observations at any time, regardless of weather or sunlight conditions. SIR-C/X-SAR uses three microwave wavelengths: L-band (24 cm), C-band (6 cm) and X-band (3 cm). The multi-frequency data will be used by the international scientific community to better understand the global environment and how it is changing. The SIR-C/X-SAR data, complemented by aircraft and ground studies, will give scientists clearer insights into those environmental changes which are caused by nature and those changes which are induced by human activity. SIR-C was developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. X-SAR was developed by the Dornier and Alenia Spazio companies for the German space agency, Deutsche Agentur fuer Raumfahrtangelegenheiten (DARA), and the Italian space agency, Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI), with the Deutsche Forschungsanstalt fuer Luft und Raumfahrt e.v.(DLR), the major partner in science, operations, and data processing of X-SAR.