Congressman asks about ocean winds satellite replacement



NASA's QuikSCAT satellite, which launched in 1999, was intended to measure ocean winds over a two-year period. Now in its fifth year, the satellite has proven its worth; NOAA, for example, uses QuikSCAT data in its hurricane forecasts. However, there are no plans to replace the satellite or its capabilities. Rep. Nick Lampson (D-Tex.), chair of the U.S. House of Representatives Science and Technology Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, sent letters on 8 May to the NASA Director and the NOAA Administrator asking about their plans for replacing QuikSCAT data in the event of the satellite's failure, particularly during the Atlantic hurricane season. He noted that in a recent media report, the director of NOAAs Hurricane Center said that without QuikSCAT data, the accuracy of the center's two- and three-day forecasts would decrease by 10% and 16%, respectively.