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Bistatic Radar

NSSDCA ID: 1971-063A-14

Mission Name: Apollo 15 Command and Service Module (CSM)
Principal Investigator:Prof. H. Taylor Howard


This experiment, carried on board the Apollo 15 mission, utilized the S-band (13-cm) and very high frequency (VHF, 116-cm) transmitters on the Command and Service Module (CSM). The CSM was oriented to direct the transmissions to an area about 10 km in daim on the lunar surface. The radio signals reflected from the lunar surface were received at the earth in a manner that preserved the frequency, phase, polarization, and amplitude information. Differences between the known characteristics of the transmitted signals and the characteristics of the echoes from the lunar surface were used in conjunction with scattering theory to derive quantitative inferences about the moon. The lunar properties inferred were the dielectric constant, the average slope and slope probability, density, small-scale surface roughness, and embedded rocks to a depth of 20 m.

Alternate Names

  • Down-Link Bistatic Radar Observations of the Moon
  • S170
  • Apollo15CSM/BistaticRadar

Funding Agency

  • NASA-Office of Manned Space Flight (United States)


  • Planetary Science: Geology and Geophysics

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this experiment can be directed to: Dr. David R. Williams



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Mr. Patrick E. LaffertyGeneral ContactNASA Johnson Space Center
Dr. A. M. PetersonOther InvestigatorStanford University
Prof. Von R. EshlemanOther InvestigatorStanford
Prof. G. Leonard TylerOther InvestigatorStanford
Prof. H. Taylor HowardPrincipal InvestigatorStanford University
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