Vital Hurricane-Warning Satellite In Danger Of Failing | Aero-News Network
Aero-News Network
RSS icon RSS feed
podcast icon MP3 podcast
Subscribe Aero-News e-mail Newsletter Subscribe

** Airborne 10.31.14 ** HD iPad-Friendly -- Airborne 10.31.14 **
** Airborne 10.29.14 ** HD iPad-Friendly -- Airborne 10.29.14 **
** Airborne 10.27.14 ** HD iPad-Friendly -- Airborne 10.27.14 **

Sat, Jun 16, 2007

Vital Hurricane-Warning Satellite In Danger Of Failing

Replacement Not Expected Until 2016 At Earliest

A weather satellite launched in 1999 that plays a key role in making accurate hurricane predictions is in danger of failing at any moment. A replacement was originally due to be launched in 2009, but has been bumped to 2016.

NASA's Quick Scatterometer (QuickScat) satellite provides essential data on wind speed and direction over an ocean. The SeaWinds microwave radar on the satellite measures near-surface wind speed and direction in all weather and cloud conditions over Earth's oceans.

Should it fail, the accuracy of two-day forecasts could suffer by as much as 10 percent and three-day forecasts by 16 percent, according to the Associated Press. This could mean difficult and expensive choices would have to be made.

"We would go blind. It would be significantly hazardous," said Wayne Sallade, emergency manager in Charlotte County, hard hit by Hurricane Charley in 2004.

A spokesman for the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said data from other satellites, though less accurate, would be utilized should QuickScat be lost.

Bill Proenza, director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami, said authorities "may have to err on the side of caution" in forecasting hurricane activity in event of the satellite fails.

"That means more people disrupted, and more impact on the economy," he said. "We have to err on the side of the protection of life. And that's how we would handle it.

Emergency managers have been informed of the issue. Not being able to rely on forecasts will make their decision making process that much more difficult, they said, such as hospital evacuations. Unreliable forecasting would mean a wider area to evacuate. It is estimated the cost of an evacuation is roughly $1 million per mile coastline.

So, why not go ahead and replace it? Why take the chance? NOAA administrator Conrad Lautenbacher blamed technical and budget problems for the setback in a letter to a Florida congressman, according to the AP.

The cost of a replacement satellite is being estimated in the neighborhood of $400 million. Even if someone were to hand NOAA the money, it would take at least four years to build.

QuickScat's major problems began last year when a transmitter used to send information to Earth about every 90 minutes failed. The satellite is now working on a backup transmitter.

Robert Gaston, who works with QuickScat at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said it is not known just how long the backup with last -- maybe years, maybe not. Oh, and there won't be any warning that it's getting ready to fail, either.

Just in time for hurricane season.

FMI: www.noaa.gov

Advertisement

More News

Airborne 10.29.14: Antares Launch Failure, GAMA Responds, Another 'Roadable'???

Also: Dragon Returns, Quadcopter Flown At Airliner?, Classic Aero-TV: Redhawk, Diesel Flt School Airplanes, WWII Bomber Found The unmanned Antares rocket built by Orbital Science C>[...]

Classic Aero-TV: ‘Have it Your Way!’ – The SPA Panther

A New Single-Seat SportPlane Shows Great Potential For Serious Fun While at the Sport Aviation Expo 2014, ANN CEO and Editor-In-Chief, Jim Campbell stopped by to talk with Dan Wese>[...]

AD: Bombardier, Inc. Airplanes

AD NUMBER: 2014-21-07 PRODUCT: Certain Bombardier, Inc. Model CL-600-2C10 (Regional Jet Series 700, 701, & 702) airplanes, Model CL-600-2D24 (Regional Jet Series 900) airplanes>[...]

AD: Airbus Airplanes

AD NUMBER: 2014-21-10 PRODUCT: Certain Airbus Model A330-200 and -300 series airplanes, and Model A340-200 and -300 series airplanes.>[...]

ANN's Daily Aero-Linx (10.31.14)

Ex-MACs This group is made of retired McDonnell Engineers, most of whom began their careers at MAC either on the F101, F3H or F4H programs.>[...]

blog comments powered by Disqus



Advertisement

Advertisement

Podcasts

Advertisement

© 2007 - 2014 Web Development & Design by Pauli Systems, LC