The examples given above illustrate the possibility of significant additive information from multifrequency enhancement of the small SAR baseline design. Even for a given application, it is difficult to assign a value to these improvements, particularly in monetary terms. The LightSAR business development and system design definition studies submitted to NASA in November 1997 may help accomplish this for some commercial applications. Industry teams can be expected to pay close attention to the end-to-send costs of any system enhancements relative to the expected commercial value of such a system. However, there is no equivalent study being undertaken by NASA to assess the value added by such enhancements. Since it is highly likely that industrial consortia will recommend an enhanced LightSAR, it will be difficult for NASA to evaluate fairly the associated costs with respect to added scientific value unless such a study is undertaken. The committee therefore recommends that the commercial value of small SAR enhancements be determined by the marketplace (i.e., via business development and system design studies) but that NASA determine the scientific value of these enhancements. This information would be critical in negotiating a government-industry team for a small SAR mission.

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