Space Shuttle

The Space Shuttle is a reusable space transport system developed and managed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), USA. The Space Shuttle system consists of an orbiter spacecraft, two solid rocket boosters, an external tank to house fuel and oxidizer and three Space Shuttle main engines. The Shuttle is designed to transport cargo into near Earth orbit 185 to 400 km above the Earth.

Remote sensing of the Earth is among many scientific missions deployed using the Space Shutter. The first Shuttle Imaging Radar (SIR-A) was flown in November 1981, followed by the second one (SIR-B) in 1984. Observations were also made by the Space Shuttle crew using handheld cameras for comparison with the radar images.

The Shuttle imaging radar-C/X-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SIR-C/X-SAR) was launched in April and October, 1994. Radar images generated by SIR-C/X-SAR are used by scientists to help understand some of the processes which affect the earth's environment, such as deforestation in the Amazon, desertification south of the Sahara, and soil moisture retention in the US Mid-West.

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Copyright CRISP, 2001