In this historical photo from the U.S. space agency, engineers at TRW, Redondo Beach, California, in May of 1997, inspect the Passive Millimeter Wave Camera, a weather-piercing camera designed to see through fog, clouds, smoke and dust.
Operating in the millimeter wave portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, the camera creates visual-like video images of objects, people, runways, obstacles and the horizon. A demonstration camera (shown in photo) has been completed and is scheduled for checkout tests and flight demonstration.
Engineer (left) holds a compact, lightweight circuit board containing 40 complete radiometers, including antenna, monolithic millimeter wave integrated circuit (MMIC) receivers and signal processing and readout electronics that forms the basis for the camera's 1040-element focal plane array.
Each weekday, SPACE.com looks back at the history of spaceflight through photos (archive).