Designed to gather data on the speed and direction of winds that cause ocean waves, the NASA Scatterometer instrument flew aboard Japan's Advanced Earth Observation Satellite, or ADEOS. The instrument yielded 268,000 measurements of ocean winds each day, covering more than 90 percent of Earth's ice-free seas.

Nine months after launch, ADEOS lost power, ending its and the NASA Scatterometer's mission. NASA approved a rapid replacement mission called the Quick Scatterometer to take the instrument's place.