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The S-193 radar altimeter experiment

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4 Author(s)
McGoogan, J.T. ; NASA Wallops Station, Wallops Island, Va. ; Miller, L.S. ; Brown, G.S. ; Hayne, G.S.

The Skylab S-193 altimeter experiment utilizes a 10- and 100-ns pulse length, 13.9-GHz earth-pointed radar system to obtain earth-surface backscatter measurements from the Skylab spacecraft. Objectives of the experiment are to obtain precision measurements of surface profile for uses in geodesy, oceanography, and earth physics, and to measure radar-signal characteristics from an earth-orbit geometry to provide design information for future radar remote-sensors. The technical approach is that of measuring the power impulse response of the scattering surface. The hardware is designed to operate in five modes: waveform or impulse-response measurement and altitude determination; radar cross-section experiment; signal correlation experiment; 10-ns pulse-compression evaluation; and nadir-seeker experiment. This program is the first reported instance in which these quantities have been measured from orbital conditions. The experimental approach utilized and the post-flight data-processing requirements are discussed and preliminary results from the first manned Skylab mission are presented.

Published in:

Proceedings of the IEEE  (Volume:62 ,  Issue: 6 )