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Planetary Radar Imaging and RF-Over-Fiber

Kam Y. Lau and George F. Lutes

Over the past three decades, NASA ground-based radar tracking stations and spaceborne missions have achieved spectacular successes imaging distant planets and Earth’s surface. RF-over-fiber has constituted a crucial component tying the systems together.

 

figureBeam waveguide antennas at the Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex, located in the Mojave Desert, Calif.

On 22 February 2000, Space Shuttle Endeavour returned to Earth after a successful 11-day flight—the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM)—gathering high-resolution topographic radar images of some 80 percent of Earth’s land surface. In addition to the more than 12 terabytes of data that the shuttle brought back that day, it also carried something else: a 60 m long extensible mast equipped with a fiber optic link that formed one of the keys to the mission’s success.

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Publish Date: 01 June 2014


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