NASA is not known for its reuse of technology. They are known for the multiple articles about all the junk that is flying around the planet. Many pieces of old technology are orbiting, staying in their paths and being watched by people on the ground.
Not so in this case. NASA has announced that they are going to reuse some hardware that was originally used on their QuikScat satellite. Given a new name, ISS-RapidScat, NASA is going to launch the wind monitor to the International Space Station in 2014. The RapidScat will help to measure ocean wind speed and direction, which in turn will create an avenue for better weather forecasting and tracking hurricane movement. RapidScat will also be able to help us better understand the interaction between the ocean and the Earth’s atmosphere.
“The ability for NASA to quickly reuse this hardware and launch it to the space station is a great example of a low-cost approach that will have high benefits to science and life here on Earth,” said Mike Suffredini, NASA’s International Space Station program manager. RapidScat will help replace a hole in data from the QuikScat satellite as it was originally scheduled for operation for two years but ran for ten before it went out of commission in 2009.
NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have been working to find an alternative to the QuikScat satellite. The engineers at JPL came up with using the hardware from QuickScat with some new components and installing it on the International Space Station. This is not a permanent fix, but it will help bridge the gap because a replacement for the QuikScat satellite will not be available anytime soon.
To find out more information about this project and the International Space Station, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/station