QuikSCAT


QuikSCAT

The QuikSCAT (Quick Scatterometer) is an earth-observing satellite that provides wind speed and direction information over oceans to NOAA. It is a "quick recovery" mission to fill the gap created by the loss of data from the NASA Scatterometer (NSCAT) that was lost in June 1997. It is in a sun-synchronous low-earth orbit.

Built in record time in just 12 months, the ocean-observing satellite was launched June 19, 1999, on a Titan II rocket from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base. It circles Earth at an altitude of 800 kilometers (500 miles) once every 101 minutes, passing close to Earth’s north and south poles. The scatterometer instrument it carries is known as Seawinds.

In light of the 2003 failure of the ADEOS II satellite that was meant to succeed the NSCAT, QuikSCAT is currently the only US-owned instrument in orbit that measures surface winds over the oceans. [cite news
last =
first =
coauthors =
title = Aging satellite worries hurricane forecasters
work = MSNBC.com
pages =
language =
publisher = Associated Press
date = 2007-03-16
url = http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17649026
accessdate = 2007-06-17
] The European Space Agency has its own scatterometers in orbit, such as ERS-2.

However, because it is now running on a backup transmitter and having other problems, this satellite could fail at any moment, which some believe may reduce the confidence in forecasting tropical storms. [cite news
last = Gresko
first = Jessica
coauthors =
title = Hurricane Satellite Could Fail Anytime
work = San Francisco Chronicle
pages = A17
language =
publisher = Associated Press
date = 2007-06-14
url = http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2007/06/12/national/a123430D90.DTL&hw=quikscat&sn=001&sc=1000
accessdate = 2007-06-14
]

Replacement of this satellite remains a topic of debate. Although NHC forecasters occasionally cite the data provided by QuikSCAT, some do not feel that the value of the data warrants the expenditure that would be necessary for replacement of the satellite with a similar instrument, but rather advocate development of a more advanced satellite.

ee also

*Earth Observing System
*European Remote-Sensing Satellite

References

External links

[http://winds.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/quikscat/index.cfm Jet Propulsion Laboratory homepage for QuikSCAT]


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