Schooner and satellites rendezvous in Atlantic


  • Anonymous


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has completed a series of rendezvous in the Atlantic Ocean between four satellites and an old-fashioned sailing vessel. The purpose was to probe two somewhat recondite features of the sea—internal waves and the Gulf Stream.

In seemingly bizarre collaboration, the 220-ton schooner Westward and satellites SMS/Goes, Landsat 1 and 2, and NOAA 4 combed the North Atlantic for eight weeks seeking data on the location and behavior of internal waves and the position and velocity of the Gulf Stream. Choice of the schooner as the surface research vessel was not an act of whimsey: an acoustic echo sounder is more sensitive in the quiet environment of a sailing ship.