NASA's ISS-RapidScat Earth Science Mission Ends Operations

Posted: Nov 30 2016, 6:25am CST | by , Updated: Nov 30 2016, 6:47am CST, in News | Latest Science News

 

NASA's ISS-RapidScat Earth Science Mission Ends Operations
Artist's rendering of NASA's ISS-RapidScat instrument (inset). Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Johnson Space Center
  • NASA’s ISS-RapidScat Earth Science Instrument Mission has ended Operations After a successful two-year mission aboard the space station
 

NASA’s International Space Station Rapid Scatterometer (ISS-RapidScat) Earth science instrument mission has apparently wound up operations on a permanent basis.

NASA’s ISS-RapidScat Earth science instrument has finished its two year mission aboard the international space station. It has now been decommissioned for better or for worse.

This instrument used the ISS as a sort of piggyback ride in order to gauge the ocean winds on earth. This in turn came in handy to predict weather patterns. Marine forecasting and tropical cyclone devastation were both monitored thanks to this unique and singular instrument. 

It happened to be the first scatterometer that measured how winds evolved along the way. This instrument proved to be a low cost eye that constantly watched over the wind patterns on the surface of the oceans.

The changing climate was better understood thanks to this wonder of science and technology. The NOAA and US Navy both used forthcoming data from this instrument in their weather pattern tabulations.

Also the European and Indian agencies employed statistics churned out from this instrument. Wind patterns that could evolve into raging storms were the watchword. While such storms rarely reached land, they caused havoc along coastal areas. 

The rate of change measurements in some of the weather phenomena were the key results of this piece of machinery. It was used to chalk out routes of ships through the territories where these winds howled and storms raged.

During the course of the mission, certain novel insights were gained. It was a tool of human ingenuity and genius. Its earlier version which was called QuikScat was much more costly in its manufacturing.

A power cut resulted in a shutdown of RapidScat on August 19th. Efforts were made to restart the instrument. Yet they failed. A final attempt was made on October 17th and when it failed too, the scientists at NASA called it a day. 

NASA currently has no plans to launch a similar instrument. Its loss will however be allayed by a separate and independent launch of ScatSat. It is essentially a mission of the Indian Space Research Organization.

There will be several missions in the future and they will discover new statistics and facts and figures that will go on to inform tomorrow’s world.

ISS-RapidScat was a result of a cooperative effort between JPL and the ISS Program Office. NASA is doing what it can for the home planet including a keeping of tabs on climate change.   

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