MEDIA RELATIONS 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 RELEASEJune 9, 1998
SEAWINDS INSTRUMENT SHIPPED FOR INTEGRATION ON QUIKSCAT
A major milestone has been reached in NASA's development of "faster,
better, cheaper" space missions with the delivery of the SeaWinds
instrument, NASA's next generation El Nino monitoring device, to Ball
Aerospace in Boulder, CO for integration into the Quick Scatterometer
QuikScat is a mission designed to complete turnaround from conception
to orbit in a very short period of time. "One of the real challenges of
this mission is having to do it in a year. The delivery of the instrument
to Ball Aerospace signifies that we are on schedule and headed to our
one-year goal," said Jim Graf, the QuikScat project manager at NASA's Jet
Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA. "This is the first major JPL Earth
science mission to have a development time of approximately one year, from
approval to launch, since the Explorer 1 satellite in the late 1950s."
The SeaWinds instrument on the QuikScat satellite uses specialized
microwave radar that measures both the speed and direction of winds near
the ocean surface. Winds directly affect the turbulent exchanges of heat,
moisture and greenhouse gases between the atmosphere and the ocean.
Changes in the winds along the equator play a key role in the formation of
the El Nino phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) also is
supporting the mission and will use the mission data for improved weather
forecasting and storm warning, helping forecasters to more accurately
determine the paths and intensities of tropical storms and hurricanes.
The versatile instrument also will be used by climate change researchers,
weather forecasters and commercial shipping interests.
SeaWinds on QuikScat will use a rotating dish antenna with two
microwave beams and 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
(1,118-mile-wide) band, making approximately 400,000 measurements each day.
The QuikScat satellite mission will restart the ocean wind data stream
which was lost when Japan's Advanced Earth Observing Satellite (ADEOS) with
a NASA Scatterometer onboard ceased functioning on June 30, 1997. Before
the loss of ADEOS, NASA was able to obtain valuable data about summer and
winter monsoon seasons and the onset of the El Nino event.
QuikScat is scheduled for launch in November 1998, from Vandenberg Air
Force Base, CA, on a Titan II launch vehicle. QuikScat is the first
contract under NASA's Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity program for
rapid delivery of satellite core systems. The 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 launch. Total mission costs for QuikScat are $93 million.
JPL's NSCAT/ SeaWinds Program Office is responsible for SeaWinds and
provided overall project management, as well as science ground processing
systems and the SeaWinds instrument. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center,
Greenbelt, MD, manages development of the satellite that is being designed
and fabricated by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. The QuikScat mission
is part of NASA's Earth Sciences enterprise, a long-term research program
designed to study Earth's land, oceans, atmosphere, ice and life as a total
JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology.
Note to Editors: A NASA TV video file will feature satellite animation and
an interview with Jim Graf, JPL QuikScat project manager, at 9 a.m., noon,
3 p.m., 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time on Tuesday, June 9. NASA TV
is available at GE-2, transponder 9C at 85 degrees West longitude, with
vertical polarization. Frequency is on 3880.0 megahertz, with audio on 6.8