The ocean-observing Quick Scatterometer (Quikscat)
satellite launches with the Seawinds instrument onboard. The mission
is a quick turn-around replacement to Japan's Midori satellite,
which became during the previous year.
With Quikscat circling Earth every 101 minutes,
the Seawinds instrument senses ripples caused by winds near the
ocean's surface, from which scientists can compute the winds' speed
and direction. The instruments can
acquire hundreds of times more observations of surface wind velocity
each day than can ships and buoys.