Press Release

NASA and DOI Honor Achievements in Remote Sensing

By SpaceRef Editor
November 21, 2002
Filed under , ,

NASA and Department of the Interior (DOI) officials presented
the 2001 and 2002 William T. Pecora award, a prestigious
federal award given to individuals and groups for
contributions in remote sensing at a ceremony in Denver,
Colorado. The 2001 award winners were Dr. Ronald J. P. Lyon
and the Landsat 7 Team. The 2002 award winners were Dr.
Ichtiaque Rasool and the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite

Dr. Mary Cleave, Deputy Associate Administrator for Earth
Science (Advanced Planning) in the NASA Office of Earth
Science and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Regional Director
Tom Casadevall, representing the DOI, presented the award
at the annual Pecora 15/Land Satellite Information IV

The award, sponsored jointly by NASA and the DOI, recognizes
outstanding contributions to the understanding of the Earth
by means of remote sensing. It has been presented annually
since 1974 in memory of Dr. William T. Pecora, whose early
vision and support helped establish what we know today as
the Landsat satellite program. Dr. Pecora was Director of
the USGS from 1965-71, and later served as Undersecretary,
Department of the Interior, until his death in 1972.

2001 Winners:

Dr. Ronald J.P. Lyon

Dr. Lyon received the award for outstanding scientific,
educational and professional leadership in geological
remote sensing. While best known for his research on
thermal-infrared analysis of minerals, Lyon also contributed
to the use of infrared absorption spectroscopy for mineral
studies, the definition and evaluation of instruments
for early satellite missions and the application of
hyperspectral remote sensing technology. His research
methods have been used operationally in the mining and
remote sensing industries. He held positions in the School
of Earth Science at Stanford University since 1965, where
he launched the remote sensing careers of a generation of

The Landsat 7 Team

The Landsat 7 satellite mission has dramatically improved
the flow of moderate-resolution data that provides global,
seasonal coverage, thus accomplishing a long-held dream
that began with the launch of Landsat 1 in 1972. The
Landsat 7 Team is a partnership between NASA (who managed
the development and launch of the satellite and developed
the ground system), USGS (who is responsible for operating
the satellite and receiving, processing, archiving and
distributing the data) as well as industry and the
academic community. The team was recognized for
contributions towards understanding the Earth’s land
surface and coastal regions, and for studies on
deforestation, agricultural land use, erosion, water
resources and urbanization.

2002 Winners:

Dr. Ichtiaque Rasool

Dr. Ichtiaque Rasool was recognized for outstanding
international leadership in advancing remote sensing as
a fundatmental element of Earth System science. His
contributions included researching the Earth’s climate
and vegetation, guiding governmental research programs
in remote sensing, and developing global environmental
datasets. Dr. Rasool was the co-founder of the
International Satellite Land Surface Climatology Project
and one of the founders of the International Geosphere-
Biosphere Program. He has held numerous positions at
NASA and is now an independent researcher and consultant
in remote sensing related to carbon and the water cycle.

Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite Team

The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) is still
operational 11 years after launch and continues to
advance our understanding of the Earth’s middle and
upper atmosphere, and the response of these regions
to natural and human activity. Observations from the
satellite’s 10 instruments provide information about the
dynamical, photochemical, and radiative processes that
influence the middle and upper atmosphere, and thus
represent a major achievement in the remote sensing of
the Earth’s atmosphere. Most of these instruments
operated many years beyond their design life. The team
was resourceful in designing the instruments, in deriving
maximum geophysical information from the observations,
and in utilizing the information to make numerous
scientific breakthroughs. These breakthroughs led to a
significantly better understanding of the natural and
human-made influences on the ozone layer and the transport
of gases in the middle atmosphere. UARS observations
contributed prominently to international scientific
assessments of ozone depletion conducted under the United
Nations Montreal Protocol.

SpaceRef staff editor.