PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIFORNIA 91109. TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
Contact: Mary Hardin
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASENovember 19, 1997
NASA AWARDS THE FIRST RAPID SPACECRAFT DELIVERY ORDER TO BALL
AEROSPACE FOR THE DELIVERY OF QUIKSCAT SPACECRAFT
NASA has approved an immediate new start for the Quick
Scatterometer (QuikSCAT) mission and has placed the first
delivery order issued under the Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite
Quantity (ID/IQ) contracts for rapid delivery of satellite core-
systems to Ball Aerospace Systems Division, Boulder, CO. The
ID/IQ procurement method provides NASA a faster, better, cheaper
method for the purchase of satellite systems through a "catalog,"
allowing for shorter turnaround time from mission conception to
The mission will fill in the ocean-wind vector data gap
created by the loss of the NASA Scatterometer (NSCAT) on the
Japanese Advanced Earth Observing Satellite (ADEOS). The NSCAT
instrument ceased functioning when ADEOS failed on June 30, 1997.
The follow-on scatterometer for monitoring ocean winds, called
SeaWinds, is scheduled for launch on the Japanese ADEOS-II
spacecraft in 2000. QuikSCAT is planned for launch in November
1998, reducing the data gap by about one-half.
"The challenge levied to us requires the satellite,
instrument, ground system, and launch vehicle be developed,
integrated, and launched in less than a year, something that has
not been accomplished before," said Jim Graf, the QuikSCAT
project manager at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena,
"To accomplish this extremely short schedule, the satellite
was chosen from a source with existing satellite hardware and
Ball was chosen under NASA's newly instituted Indefinite
Delivery/Indefinite Quantity contracts to be the spacecraft
contactor," said Graf. "The instrument will be assembled by JPL
from SeaWinds hardware spares."
QuikSCAT is planned for launch from Vandenberg Air Force
Base, aboard a Titan II vehicle. Total cost for the QuikSCAT
mission is approximately $93 million, including
$39 million to Ball for the spacecraft and $22 million for the
launch vehicle. JPL's cost to develop the instrument is $13
million. Congress approved NASA's use of fiscal year 1997
appropriated funds to undertake the mission.
QuikSCAT represents a unique collaboration between JPL and
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD. JPL's
NSCAT/SeaWinds program office has been assigned the QuikSCAT
management responsibility and will provide management, ground
systems and a SeaWinds-type scatterometer instrument.
Goddard has been given responsibility to procure the
satellite under the newly instituted ID/IQ, which enables a quick
acquisition of a science bus to support NASA's space science,
Earth science and technology needs. The award is the result of a
competition among the eight contractors previously selected.
This is the first of two spacecraft delivery orders expected to
be placed in the first quarter of fiscal year 1998.
Ball will implement the QuikSCAT mission, which includes
providing the spacecraft bus, integrating the JPL Scatterometer,
and performing up to two years of observatory on-orbit
QuikSCAT will use a rotating dish antenna with two microwave
beams of the same design as SeaWinds. The antenna will radiate
microwaves across 90 percent of the Earth's ice-free oceans every
day. The instrument will collect wind-speed and wind direction
data in a continuous 1,800 kilometer-wide (1118 mile-wide) band,
making approximately 400,000 measurements each day.
As a parallel effort, NASA intends to issue a solicitation
for scientific data to determine whether any such capabilities
exist in the commercial sector. If such data were available it
could have the potential to achieve cost savings or the added
benefit of a back-up source of data if a problem were to arise
with the QuikSCAT mission.
Measuring ocean winds is important because winds are a
driving force for oceanic motions, ranging from small-scale waves
to large-scale systems of ocean currents. Winds directly affect
the turbulent exchanges of heat, moisture and greenhouse gases
between the atmosphere and the ocean. These air-sea exchanges,
in turn, determine regional weather patterns and shape global
climate. Ocean winds data collected before the loss of NSCAT
showed great promise in improving scientists' ability to forecast
the movement of tropical storm systems -- one reason why NASA
wants to bring this capability back on-line as soon as possible.
QuikSCAT will be managed by JPL, a division of the
California Institute of Technology, for NASA's Office of Mission
to Planet Earth enterprise, a long-term coordinated research
effort to study the Earth system and the effects of natural and
human-induced changes on the global environment.