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Observing the Sky Solar System Satellites Navy Research Resources

The Navy & Satellites - WindSat
(Satellite Based Wind Speed and Direction System)


Image of WindSat
WindSat was designed and built at the Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC.

Purpose: To measure ocean surface wind speed and wind direction.

Secondary measurements: sea surface temperature, soil moisture, rain rate, ice and snow characteristics, and water vapor.

Launch vehicle: Titan II

Satellite Deployed: January 7, 2003

Orbit: 98.7 degrees

Projected Capabilities:

  • Spaceborne remote sensing of ocean surface wind vectors (speed and direction).
  • Wind direction measurement with polarimetric instruments, which sense the polarity of light.
  • How ocean surface physics change with wind and boundary layer conditions.

Program Participants include: The Office of Naval Research, the Naval Research Laboratory, Titan Spacecraft Procurement Office

Re-Entry: 3-year lifetime design

Ocean wind speed and direction affect a broad range of naval missions including ship movement and positioning, aircraft carrier operations, aircraft deployment, effective weapons use, underway replenishment, and littoral operations. WindSat will aid with forecasting short-term weather, issuing timely weather warnings, and gathering general climate data.