Display Status This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

In 2000, the Space Shuttle Endeavour carried the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) payload into orbit. Shuttle astronauts used the payload, manufactured by the AEC-Able Engineering Co., to map in high detail and three dimensions more than 70 percent of the Earth's surface--the most complete and accurate rendering of the planet's land masses ever attempted. To acquire this data, the SRTM used a novel hardware system that featured a main antenna located in the Shuttle payload bay, a folding mast (in the mast canister) that extended 60 meters from the Shuttle, and then another antenna system that was positioned at the end of the mast (the outboard structure). It was this dual antenna system — the largest rigid structure then flown in space — that produced, through interferometry (a technique for combining the information obtained from the two, separate antennas), a three-dimensional mapping of the Earth. The mission was a joint undertaking of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and the Department of Defense's National Imagery and Mapping Agency. The military will use the highest resolution data from SRTM for terrain navigation for planes and cruise missiles. A lower resolution data set will be made available to civilian scientists and other users.



Processing Information

Arranged, described, and encoded by Patti Williams, 2020.


United States. National Imagery and Mapping Agency. Geodesy & Geophysics




Transfer from NASM Space History Department, 2019, NASM.2019.0051


0.79 Cubic feet (Two letter boxes.)


This collection consists of drawings, inspection report sheets, and a manual relating to the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission.


No restrictions on access


Collection descriptions

Archival materials

Technical drawings

Technical manuals

Arrangement note

Arrangement by type.

Scope and Contents

This collection consists the following relating to the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission: JPL inspection report sheets; the manual, "Cargo Systems Manual (CSM): Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM)," which includes technical drawings of the antennas; and nineteen J size drawings of the SRTM.


Technical drawings

Technical manuals -- 20th century


Material is subject to Smithsonian Terms of Use. Should you wish to use NASM material in any medium, please submit an Application for Permission to Reproduce NASM Material, available at Permissions Requests.


Shuttle Radar Topography Mission

Topics Space Shuttle Program (U.S.)
Topographical surveying
Astronautics, Military


Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) Drawings, NASM.2019.0051, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

Archival Repository

National Air and Space Museum Archives

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