Alaska Satellite Facility - Distributed Active Archive Center


Seasat artist rendering

Launched by NASA in 1978, the Seasat satellite’s primary mission was to observe oceans using NASA’s first synthetic aperture radar (SAR) sensor. SAR bounces a microwave radar signal off the surface of Earth to detect physical properties. Unlike optical photo technology, SAR can see through darkness, clouds, and rain.

Through the use of SAR, the Seasat satellite collected an enormous amount of data for its time. This data has been processed by the Alaska Satellite Facility, a NASA Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC), into digital imagery that allows scientists to measure features of the planet’s surface over time.