NASA recently approved a mission to fly a Doppler Wind Lidar on a US Space Shuttle. SPARCLE, managed by Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL, is targeted for launch in March 2001. This mission is viewed as a necessary demonstration of a solid state lidar using coherent detection before committing resources to a 3-5 year research or operational mission. While, to many, this shuttle mission is seen as the first step in a series leading to a fully operational wind observing system, to others, it is a chance to validate predictions of performance based upon theoretical models, analyses of airborne and ground-based data and sophisticated observing system simulation experiments. The SPARCLE instrument is a 100 mJ, 6 Hz, diode pumped 2 micron laser with a .25 m telescope using heterodyne mixing in a fiber and an InGaAs detector. A 25 cm silicon wedge scanner will be used in step-stare modes with dwells ranging from 60 seconds to .5 seconds. Pointing knowledge is achieved with a dedicated GPS/INS mounted close to the lidar. NASA's hitchhiker program is providing the instrument enclosures and mission logistics support. An on- board data system in sized to record 80 Gbytes of raw signal from two 400 MHz A/D converters. On-board signal processing will be used to control the frequency of the Master Oscillator. SPARCLE is predicted to have a singleshot backscatter sensitivity near 5 by 10-6 m-1 sr-1. To achieve higher sensitivity, shot accumulation will be employed. Ground-based, 2 micron DWLs have been used to assess the benefits of shot accumulation. Airborne programs like MACAWS have provided good data st for evaluating various sampling strategies and signal processing algorithms. Using these real data to calibrate out simulation models, we can describe when and how well SPARCLE is expected to perform.