The NASA RapidScat Program was a NASA program that was designed to measure winds over the Earth’s oceans using a scatterometer instrument. The program was launched aboard the International Space Station in 2014 for improved weather forecasting and studying of the Earth’s climate. The scatterometer instrument used by the mission allowed scientists to study ocean winds and their impact on the movement of heat, moisture, and gases between the atmosphere and the ocean.
The primary objective of the NASA RapidScat Program was to provide high-resolution measurements of the ocean surface wind vector and its change over time. This is important because the wind vector is a critical component of the coupled ocean-atmosphere system that affects Earth’s climate. Improved measurements of global winds help to increase the accuracy of weather forecasts, which, in turn, can help to save lives and protect property.
Over the course of its mission, the RapidScat instrument provided valuable data on ocean winds to the scientific community. However, in 2016, the instrument stopped transmitting data and the mission officially ended. Despite this setback, the data collected by RapidScat continues to be analyzed by scientists around the world, contributing to our understanding of the Earth’s climate and how it is changing over time.