JUL 2021 -- Rod Boyce
Howard Zebker, PhD
If you want an idea of how long Howard Zebker has been immersed professionally with satellites and satellite data, just look up the launch date of NASA’s Seasat mission.
June 28, 1978.
Seasat was one of the first Earth-observing satellites and was designed to provide data about the planet’s oceans. It was the first time that NASA sent a synthetic aperture radar into orbit.
Seasat didn’t last long, at just 105 days due to a catastrophic onboard short circuit, but its SAR system and other instrumentation provided more ocean data than had been gathered in the previous 100 years of shipboard investigations.
And it proved the value of space-borne SAR.
Howard was deeply involved in Seasat, working on algorithms for the processors that would handle Seasat’s data and helping design the optical correlator system that would make images from the data that had been downloaded from Seasat onto magnetic tape.
Yes, magnetic tape. Also, there were notebooks — of the paper sort, not of the electronic variety — that people were still using.
“I built the ground support equipment for the radar, which included moving all of the test measurements from being done by hand and written into a notebook to a computer-controlled system that could operate the test equipment and record the results,” he wrote in one email exchange for this recollection of his work and his connection to the Alaska SAR Facility, which would later become the Alaska Satellite Facility at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
“This seems obvious and is the way things are done today, but 40-plus years ago this was one of the first times this was attempted,” he wrote.
Seasat was Howard’s first project at JPL, and it got him connected with the Alaska facility, which was one of five northern hemisphere ground stations receiving Seasat data.
“So I have used data from ASF off and on for decades,” he said. “I have been on the User Working Group and continue to rely on ASF as a source of data and other computing resources and a way to interact with the community. And that continues today.”
So you see, Howard has been around a while.
OCT 2019 - Fritz Freudenberger
Franz Meyer, PhD
As ASF Chief Scientist, Franz J. Meyer leverages almost two decades of remote sensing research experience to act as the interface between ASF and the scientific community.
Meyer has spent his career working with space agencies around the world to develop processing techniques and methods for synthetic aperture radar, or SAR, data. These techniques have been used to explore signals related to surface deformation such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Recently, his research has expanded into the development of remote sensing-based hazard monitoring. He has led trainings around the world to help governments and organizations increase their capacity for radar techniques and hopes to transform SAR into a tool to meaningfully influence people’s lives on a daily basis.