MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109. TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
Contact: Diane Ainsworth
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 3, 1999
QUIKSCAT TEAM WINS AMERICAN ELECTRONICS ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Spacecraft engineers on NASA's new Quick Scatterometer ocean
winds-observing spacecraft have won an American
Electronics Association Technical Achievement Award for
development of a spacecraft at a record-setting pace of one year.
The agency's QuikScat satellite, built at Ball Aerospace &
Technologies Corp., Boulder, CO, for NASA's Jet Propulsion
Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, was assembled faster than any major
science spacecraft has ever been constructed since the 1958
Explorer 1 spacecraft, which launched the U.S. entry into the world's
race to space.
From start to finish, QuikScat was built using a new
procurement system called the "Rapid Spacecraft Acquisition"
process, which was instituted by NASA's Goddard Space Flight
Center, Greenbelt, MD, said James E. Graf, QuikScat project
manager at JPL. The new procedure accelerates the process through
which NASA purchases and develops satellite systems and reaps the
rewards of low-cost commercial technology from the burgeoning
"We implemented many innovative procedures to streamline the
procurement process of bidding and developing a spacecraft," said
Carroll Winn, QuikScat assistant project manager at JPL. "As its
name implies, the QuikScat spacecraft was built very rapidly to
replace critical data on ocean winds lost when the spacecraft
carrying the previous spaceborne scatterometer failed. This new
procurement process cut the amount of time we would have spent
selecting a contract and initiating spacecraft development from
about a year to 30 days."
"This was a remarkable effort to get the spacecraft built,
integrated and tested in an 11-month time frame," added Chip
Barnes, QuikScat spacecraft system engineer at Ball Aerospace.
QuikScat's SeaWinds instrument will measure the speeds and
direction of ocean surface winds using a specialized microwave
radar. The 870-kilogram (1,910-pound) spacecraft will be placed
in a Sun-synchronous, 803-kilometer (497-mile) near-polar orbit.
The satellite will circle Earth every 100 minutes, taking
approximately 400,000 measurements over 90 percent of Earth's
surface each day. The spacecraft is tentatively set for launch at
7:15 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time on June 18 from Vandenberg Air
Force Base, CA.
Winds play a major role in weather systems and directly
affect the turbulent exchanges of heat, moisture and greenhouse
gases between Earth's atmosphere and the ocean. They also fill a
crucial part of the scientific equation in determining long-term
climate change. Data from the two-year mission will greatly
improve meteorologists' ability to forecast weather and
understand longer-term climate change.
Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., representing the
QuikScat team, will receive an award this evening at the American
Electronics Association Mountain States Council's regional awards
ceremony, to begin at 6 p.m. Mountain time at the Marriott Hotel-
Denver West in Golden, CO. The chapter represents approximately
100 high-tech companies in Colorado and Utah. Nationally, the
organization, founded in 1943, represents more than 3,000
companies, with products ranging from semiconductors and software
to mainframe computers and telecommunications systems.
JPL's NSCAT/SeaWinds Program Office is responsible for
SeaWinds and provides overall project management, as well as
science ground processing systems and the SeaWinds instrument.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center managed development of the
satellite, designed and built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies
The QuikScat mission is part of NASA's Earth Sciences
Enterprise, Washington, DC, a long-term research program designed
to study Earth's land, oceans, atmosphere, ice and life as a
total integrated system. JPL is a division of the California
Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA.