|ISS-RapidScat Artist Concept
Artist's rendering of NASA's ISS-RapidScat instrument (inset), which will launch to the International Space Station in 2014 to measure ocean surface wind speed and direction and help improve weather forecasts, including hurricane monitoring. It will be installed on the end of the station's Columbus laboratory. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/JSC
The ISS-RapidScat instrument is a speedy and cost-effective replacement for NASA's QuikScat Earth satellite, which monitored ocean winds to provide essential measurements used in weather predictions, including hurricane monitoring. So essential were QuikScat's measurements that when the satellite stopped collecting wind data in late 2009, NASA was challenged to quickly and cost-effectively conceive of a replacement. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the agency's station program came up with a solution that uses the framework of the International Space Station and reuses hardware originally built to test parts of QuikScat to create an instrument for a fraction of the cost and time it would take to build and launch a new satellite.
The resulting ISS-RapidScat instrument is slated to launch in 2014 and will fly aboard the International Space Station to measure Earth's ocean surface wind speed and direction.