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Shuttle Crew Completes Radar Survey

October 11, 1994| Reuters

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — The space shuttle astronauts concluded an 11-day, round-the-clock radar survey of Earth on Monday and began stowing scientific gear for their planned return to the ground today.

Rainy, windy weather was expected in Florida, but the crew is scheduled to bring Endeavour down at 8:36 a.m. PDT at the Kennedy Space Center, where its journey began Sept. 30.

NASA could detour the shuttle to Edwards Air Force Base in California later in the day instead.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration said the six-man crew had achieved its goals of mapping terrain in remote regions and measuring environmental changes from April to October. It was the second flight test in six months of the $384-million Space Radar Laboratory.

Two radar instruments, one from the United States and the other from Europe, and an air pollution monitor were ready to "take their place in the tool kit," said NASA's Steve Wall.

The U.S. space agency has no firm plans to fly the laboratory again, but there is talk of putting similar radars in orbit aboard satellites in the next decade.

The Space Radar Laboratory in the shuttle cargo bay scanned Earth for a final day Monday while the astronauts continued making weather observations and taking photographs over various ground targets, from the forests of Michigan to the sands of Africa and the jungles of the Amazon.

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