International Space Station Rapid Scatterometer (ISS-RapidScat)


The Rapid Scatterometer instrument on the International Space Station (ISS-RapidScat) was a replacement for NASA's QuikScat Earth satellite, which monitored ocean winds to provide essential measurements used in weather predictions but stopped collecting wind data in 2009. ISS-RapidScat was a Ku-band (13.4 GHz) dual pencil beam scatterometer that provided all-weather ocean surface wind vector measurements over the ice-free global oceans calibrated to a 10-meter reference height. Its location on the space station made it the first space-borne scatterometer that could observe how winds evolve throughout the course of a day.

ISS-RapidScat began providing its first set of calibrated, science-quality measurements in October 2014. In August 2016, the ISS Columbus module experienced a power loss, which resulted in a total, unrecoverable power loss to ISS-RapidScat. Data collection ended on August 19, 2016.

Map of the world showing ocean wind speeds in meter per second for Oct. 1, 2014.
ISS-RapidScat composite image of global ocean vector wind (OVW) speeds for October 1, 2014. This first map of ISS-RapidScat's wind speed collection pattern used real-time data only and therefore did not include data over the Indian Ocean that weren't available at the time of its generation. Credit: NASA JPL.


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