National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on 21 September 2014 successfully installed and activated its first Earth-observing instrument ISS-RapidScat (ISS Rapid Scatterometer) on the International Space Station (ISS). It was launched aboard during the SpaceX CRS-4 mission.
The ISS-RapidScat will monitor ocean winds for climate research as well as weather predictions and hurricane monitoring.
It has a different orbit than other Earth remote sensing platforms. It is closer to Earth and it sees Earth at different times of the day with a different schedule.
The first image from ISS-RapidScat was released by NASA on 6 October 2014 which depicts preliminary measurements of global ocean near-surface wind speeds and directions.
NASA has already launched the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory, a joint mission with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency in February 2014 and the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) carbon observatory in July 2014.
Two additional NASA Earth science instruments are scheduled to be launched in 2016.
ISS-RapidScat (ISS Rapid Scatterometer)
• ISS-RapidScat is NASA’s first research payload aimed at conducting near global Earth science from the stations exterior and will be augmented with others in coming years.
• It is a space-based scatterometer that replaces the inoperable SeaWinds payload aboard the QuickSCAT satellite.
• Scatterometers are radar instruments that measure wind speed and direction over the ocean, and are useful for weather forecasting, hurricane monitoring, and observations of large-scale climate phenomena such as El Nino.
• The ISS RapidScat instrument enhances measurements from other international scatterometers by cross-checking their data and demonstrates a unique way to replace an instrument aboard an aging satellite.
When: 21 September 2014