PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109. TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
Contact: Mary A. Hardin
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASESeptember 13, 1996
NASA SCATTEROMETER POWERED ON TO BEGIN COLLECTING DATA
Engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory are receiving the first
calibration data from the NASA Scatterometer (NSCAT) after the instrument
was successfully powered on Monday night.
NSCAT, an instrument that measures the speed and direction of
winds over the oceans, was launched August 16 by Japan's National Space
Development Agency (NASDA) onboard its Advanced Earth Observing Satellite
(ADEOS). Information from NSCAT will help scientists predict climate changes
and improve weather forecasts, and will also help them understand ocean
circulation and the role of air-sea interactions in the global ecosystem.
"We'll spend the next few days assessing the instrument's health by
cycling through several operational modes and checking out the engineering
data," said Jim Graf, the NSCAT project manager at JPL. "The instrument
will enter into a science observation mode on Monday, September 16. The first
wind image should be available sometime in early October."
NSCAT will provide an important new tool for weather forecasters
to more accurately predict weather, particularly in coastal regions such as
Southern California. "Winds over the oceans affect us in Los Angeles
directly, because that's where most of our weather comes from," Graf said.
NSCAT has been developed under NASA's strategic enterprise
called Mission to Planet Earth, a comprehensive research effort to study
Earth's land, oceans, atmosphere, ice and life as an interrelated system.
JPL developed, built and manages the NSCAT
instrument for NASA. The start of operations initiates a long-term
cooperative investigation of Earth by the United States and Japan.