ISS-RapidScat on track for September launch to International Space Station

ISS-RapidScat-View-Earth-Web-640(Visualization of the ISS-RapidScat instrument on the ISS; inset shows the instrument.  Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Johnson Space Center)

NASA’s ISS-RapidScat, a new Earth-observing instrument that will measure ocean winds while mounted on the International Space Station (ISS), is go for launch — almost. On May 12, 2014, the instrument arrived at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida from its birthplace at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, and will undergo final launch preparations in the coming weeks.

RapidScat is the replacement for QuikScat, a sun-synchronous Earth-observing satellite that carried the wind scatterometer SeaWinds. QuikScat was launched in 1999 and collected data on wind direction and speed over the ocean surface for more than ten years, aiding primarily in weather forecasting. Data from the scatterometer soon became available in near-real time (within 3 to 3.5 hours), which made it especially helpful in predicting hurricanes and cyclones. (text from SpaceFlightInsider).

This is very good news. I feared that the conflict with Russia would force the postponement of this program.



About Seelye Martin

Seelye Martin received his Ph.D. in engineering mechanics from Johns Hopkins University in 1967 then spent two years as a research associate in the Department of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1969 he took up a position in the School of Oceanography at the University of Washington where he is now an Emeritus Professor. Beginning in 1987, he taught courses on remote sensing of the oceans. Professor Martin has been involved with passive microwave, visible/infrared and radar ice research since 1979, and has served on a number of NASA and NOAA committees and panels involving remote sensing and high latitude processes. He has made many trips to the Arctic for research on sea ice properties and oceanography. From 2006-2008, he worked at NASA Headquarters as Program Manager for the Cryosphere, where he also served as program scientist for the ICESat-1 and ICESat-2 missions. After leaving Headquarters, from 2009 -2012, he worked in a variety of roles for the NASA high-latitude IceBridge remote sensing aircraft program. For this work, in 2012 he was awarded the NASA Exceptional Public Service Medal.
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