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This is an X-band Synthetic Aperture Radar image spanning an area of about 20 kilometers by 40 kilometers (12 miles by 25 miles) of the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. At the top right are cloud-like structures which indicate rain. X-SAR is able to image heavy rainfall. The Atlantic Ocean is at the upper right. The shuttle landing strip is seen at the top left of the image. The Vertical Assembly Building, the Orbiter Processing Facility and other associated buildings are seen as a white area to the right and just above the end of the shuttle strip. The shuttle launch pads are the two white areas near the top center of the image. The Banana River shows up as a large black area running north to south to the right of the image. The Indian River is on the left side of the image. Just above the image center is a cluster of white spots which are the major buildings of the Kennedy Space Center industrial area. This was the location of the reflector array that was constructed to form the letters "KSC" by the KSC payload team. The data for these KSC images were taken on orbit 81 of the space shuttle Endeavour on the fourth day of the SIR-C/X-SAR mission.
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.
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