Hardware originally built to test parts of the space agency's QuikScat satellite will be used in the building of the ISS-RapidScat instrument to help improve weather forecasts, including hurricane monitoring, and understanding of how ocean-atmosphere interactions influence Earth's climate, NASA officials said.
"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," Mike Suffredini, NASA's International Space Station program manager, said.
The QuikScat satellite was designed to last two years but operated for 10. However, it stopped collecting ocean wind data in late 2009.
A successor satellite will not be available soon, so NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and the agency's station program proposed adapting leftover QuikScat hardware in combination with new hardware for use on the space station.
"By leveraging the capabilities of the International Space Station and recycling leftover hardware, we will acquire good science data at a fraction of the investment needed to launch a new satellite," JPL project manager Howard Eisen said.
The instrument will be launched to the space station aboard a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft and is expected to operate aboard the station for two years, NASA said.