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ISS-RapidScat decommissioned after two years of service

Artist’s representation of the ISS-RapidScat instrument (inset). Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Johnson Space Center

Artist’s representation of the ISS-RapidScat instrument (inset). Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Johnson Space Center

Two years may only be half of a typical course of study at a university, but for NASA’s pioneering International Space Station Rapid Scatterometer (ISS-RapidScat) science instrument, it was a lifetime.

Taking advantage of the orbital “high ground” offered by the ISS, ISS-RapidScat provided near real-time data for forecasters and researchers in an effort to gain a better understanding of ocean winds and how they impact regional weather patterns. Indeed, the instrument’s vantage point on the ISS contributed useful information to domestic and foreign entities alike.

Besides supplying unique wind data to agencies like the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) and the U.S. Navy, ISS-RapidScat also provided information to European and Indian weather organizations.

“As a first-of-its-kind mission, ISS-RapidScat proved successful in providing researchers and forecasters with a low-cost eye on winds over remote areas of Earth’s oceans,” said Michael Freilich, director of NASA’s Earth Science Division in a release from the agency. “The data from ISS-RapidScat will help researchers contribute to an improved understanding of fundamental weather and climate processes, such as how tropical weather systems form and evolve.”

Read more in my full piece at SpaceFlight Insider

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