A successor to NSCAT, the SeaWinds scatterometer was a specialized microwave radar that measured near-surface wind velocity (both speed and direction) under all weather and cloud conditions over Earth's oceans.SeaWinds used a rotating dish antenna with two beams. The antenna radiated microwave pulses at a frequency of 13.4 gigahertz across broad regions on Earth's surface. SeaWinds collected data in a continuous 1,800-kilometer-wide band, making approximately 400,000 measurements per day.
SeaWinds is a part of the Earth Observing System (EOS) which is designed to address global environmental changes, and is a joint mission with the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA). Winds are a critical factor in determining regional weather patterns and climate. Oceans cover 70 percent of Earth's surface, and as the only remote-sensing system to provide accurate, frequent, high-resolution measurements of ocean surface wind velocities, under all weather conditions, scatterometers play an increasingly important role in oceanographic, meteorological and climate studies.
As part of the SeaWinds Project, NASA sponsors a team of scientific investigators who advised the project during the development of the instrument and ground data processing system. The science team will conduct research with SeaWinds data; their studies are expected to lead to improved methods of global weather forecasting and modeling.
SeaWinds was scheduled to launch on board ADEOS-II from Tanegashima, Japan in February 2002, but NASA has been advised by the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA) that the Japanese Space Activities Commission (SAC) want to have 3 successful H-IIA rocket launches prior to the ADEOS-II launch. This sets the ADEOS-II launch to take place no earlier than November 2002. The SeaWinds Project is managed for NASA's Earth Science Enterprise by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology.