picture of the encyclopedia
previous next
Version 0.81 comes with a new web design! Please allow popups for navigation.

STS 64


Launch id 94059
Launch date 9 Sep 1994 at 22:22 UT
Launch site Cape Canaveral, pad 39B
Type Discovery #19
Crew Richard (Dick) Richards, commander
L. Blaine Hammond Jr. (KC5HBS), pilot
Jerry L. Linenger (KC5HBR)
Susan Helms
Carl Meade
Mark Lee
Landing date 20 Sep 1994
Landing site  
Payload Spartan 201-2 (launched and retrieved)

Lidar In-Space Technology Experiment (LITE 1) and SAREX

Also on board were 12 Get Away Special (GAS) experiments designed and built by high school and university students, an Orbit Stability Experiment (OSE), and a Robot Operated Materials Processing System (ROMPS).

Lidar is essentially radar using an optical wavelength laser instead of microwaves. LITE consists of a Spacelab pallet with a laser transmitter and a receiver telescope. In an interesting historical note, the 96-cm receiver telescope was built in the 1960s as the engineering model for the telescope on the OAO-B satellite, lost in a 1970 launch failure. It was refurbished for the LITE mission.

LITE 1 results (made from the June 16 issue of RESEARCHER NEWS, Langley Research Center)

According to Dr. M. Patrick McCormick, LITE project scientist and branch head of Langley's Aerosol Research Branch, the LITE mission was 100 percent successful. One mission highlight was the collection of spectacular data on Super Typhoon Melissa. From the cargo bay of Space Shuttle Discovery, LITE passed directly over the eye of the typhoon and profiled the eye-wall clouds from the top to the sea surface below.

Unlike passive instruments which measure the amount of heat emitted or light reflected by only the highest layer of multi-layered clouds, LITE is able to penetrate the highest clouds and provide scientists with data about clouds at many levels below. The LITE data also revealed high cirrus clouds which were not seen in the standard meteorological satellite data and are often not expressed in atmospheric models.

Using the three different wavelengths aboard LITE also allowed Browell [Dr. Edward Browell is a senior scientist in Langley's Chemistry and Dynamics Branch] and his team to identify the types of aerosols they were measuring. Browel said, "Remotely, we can detect whether the aerosols we're seeing are biomass burning or whether they're desert aerosols (sands)." Biomass burning generates green-house gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and ozone. Aerosols also affect the Earth's energy budget by scattering sunlight back into space, thereby cooling the Earth. Aerosols can also increase the amount of clouds present by acting as surfaces upon which water vapor can condense.

The LITE system obtained a spectacular data set, demonstrating the ability of lidar remote sensing techniques to study the Earth's atmosphere. A future space-based lidar system is being studied. This future system would fly on a satellite in low-earth orbit and provide daily coverage of global cloud characteristics and aerosols created by dust storms, biomass burning and urban pollution.

External resources


© TBS Internet, all rights reserved. All reproduction, copy or mirroring prohibited. Legal notice
francais anglais contact