STS-99 Post Flight Presentation
On January 31, 2000, the Space Shuttle Endeavour was launched on a mission to complete the most extensive topographic survey of the Earth's surface to date. The Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) collected radar data, using a technique called Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) interferometry. This data enabled scientists to produce detailed three-dimensional models of 80% of the planet's surface. These were the first 3D maps of developing countries and large areas of the Earth's sparsely populated desert and forest. Benefits in collecting this data included improved forecasting of environmental conditions, increased navigational safety, help with urban planning and road construction.