NASA Successfully Installs and Activates ISS-RapidScat

NASA Successfully Installs and Activates ISS-RapidScat

NASA successfully installed and activated its first Earth-observing instrument ISS-RapidScat (ISS Rapid Scatterometer) on the ISS.

The ISS-RapidScat will allow NASA to monitor ocean winds for climate research and also for weather predictions and hurricane monitoring.

The space agency shared that the ISS-RapidScat's antenna has started spinning and already began to transmit and receive its first winds data. "Most satellite missions require weeks or even months to produce data of the quality that we seem to be getting from the first few days of RapidScat", affirmed Ernesto Rodriguez from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory Pasadena, California.

The ISS-RapidScat, which was launched aboard during the SpaceX CRS-4 mission, is in differnet orbit than other earth remote sending platforms. The instrument is closer to earth and monitors it at different times during a day with a differnet schedule.

On October 6, 2014, NASA released the first image from ISS-RapidScat. The image showed preliminary measurements of global ocean near-surface wind speeds and directions. The ISS-RapidScat is the NASA's first research payload having an aim to carry out near global Earth science from the station's exterior.

It's another attractive feature is that it is a space-based scatterometer, which are radar instruments that measure wind speed and direction over the ocean. They are useful for weather forecasting, hurricane monitoring and observation of big climate-change phenomena like El-Nino.

In February 2014, NASA has also launched the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory in collaboration with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and also, the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) carbon observatory in July 2014.

Julie Robinson, a chief scientist for the ISS Programme at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, shared that with such instruments, the space station is taking up as an Earth-observing platform. Six NASA earth science instruments will be mounted at the top of the ISS before the end of the decade.

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