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New NASA instrument will more accurately predict hurricanes

Artists rendition of ISS - RapidScat
Artists rendition of ISS - RapidScat

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that the key to surviving a hurricane is early warning and preparation. NASA is planning to install a new weather instrument aboard the International Space Station that would help improve hurricane predictions. The instrument, ISS-RapidScat, measures Earth’s ocean temperature, wind speed and direction. Its predecessor, the QuikScat satellite had proven to be a vital instrument in weather forecasts, but it had stopped sending information in 2009. This prompted NASA to quickly develop a replacement utilizing the International Space Station as it’s frame.

It’s no secret that NASA has been on a tight budget in recent years so they creatively looked for a cost-effective way to develop a new instrument. According to NASA, the ISS-RapidScat “reuses hardware originally built to test parts of QuikScat to create an instrument for a fraction of the cost and time it would take to build and launch a new satellite”.

The ISS-RapidScat is slated to launch June 6, 2014 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.