The results of a study of Railroad Valley Playa, located 100 miles east of Tonopah, Nevada are presented. The primary objective of this study has been to determine its suitability as a satellite calibration target. We present the search algorithm that was used initially to identify the site from satellite imagery. The search program mainly focuses on locating areas in imagery that have large spatial extent, spatial uniformity, and high surface reflectance. We present the results of several field campaigns to the site to further examine the playa's surface characteristics. These studies include spectral surface reflectance over the 0.4 to 2.0 micron range, sample bi-directional reflectance characteristics, and the spatial uniformity of the overall playa. The target is intended to be used for post-launch radiometric calibration using the reflectance-based approach for small footprint senors. It also will be used for a cross-calibration approach where one sensor's calibration is transferred to another sensor. We present preliminary error estimates in these two methods from using the Railroad Valley site.© (1996) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.