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Passing Of A Friend

Dr. Jeff Masters notes the end of a stalwart ally in the tropical weather community: QuikSCAT, 1999 – 2009: R.I.P.

The QuikSCAT satellite is no more. The sad new of QuikSCAT’s demise came yesterday in a terse message from NASA:

Several hours ago, shortly past 7:00Z today (23Nov), telemetry received from QuikSCAT indicates that the antenna rotation rate has dropped to zero and remains at zero. The motor remains powered. The system can be operated safely in this state for an indefinite period. The QuikSCAT operations team will be meeting later this morning, but in all likelihood this is the end of the nominal mission”.

Launched in 1999, the QuikSCAT satellite became one of the most useful and controversial meteorological satellites ever to orbit the Earth. Forecasters world-wide came to rely on QuikSCAT wind data to issue timely warnings and make accurate forecasts of tropical and extratropical storms, wave heights, sea ice, aviation weather, iceberg movement, coral bleaching events, and El Niño. Originally expected to last just 2-3 years, QuikSCAT made it past ten, a testament to the skill of the engineers that designed the satellite…

Unfortunately, the funding necessary to replace the QuikSCAT was lost to the anti-scientific zeal of the Hedgemony and a Republican Congress of Luddites.

Fortunately it was there for the “interesting” 2004 and 2005 seasons, but we now have one less tool to warn people of what is coming. If the money were allocated today, a replacement could be in orbit in 2016 at a very reduced price on a Japanese satellite, but the Blue Dogs don’t like science anymore than their Republican siblings.


1 cookie jill { 11.24.09 at 11:06 pm }

They just don’t care. These uber “Christians” are death cultists. And, as their fearful leader W once answered when posed the question how will history look at his presidency…”it doesn’t matter…we’ll all be dead.”

Why discover things? We’ll all be dead.
Why try stopping global warming? We’ll all be dead.
Why try fixing things to help our country into the future? We’ll all be dead.

They should actually try appreciating life for once…not just pay it lip service for political gain.
.-= last blog ..Paula Deen =-.

2 Bryan { 11.24.09 at 11:36 pm }

We have yet to see if the Democrats are going to be any better, but there is a chance they might be.

3 Kryten42 { 11.25.09 at 2:18 am }

I’m sure the fault could be repaired. But honestly, I wouldn’t trust NASA, or any US agency with the mission.

!0 years was an amazing run before a serious fault (and it still works, just that a motor seized or control system failed in some way in all probability). Today, I wouldn’t give it 6 mths.

After all that’s happened recently, I’m beginning to suspect that the current Dem’s will be worse. We’ll see.

4 Bryan { 11.25.09 at 4:14 pm }

Actually, it needs to be replaced because we have better, more accurate technology available. I assume the bearings on the antenna seized up, which is understandable considering that the design was for a three year life cycle. It’s the standard Republican reasoning for not doing routine maintenance, i.e. it is a waste of money of to replace things that are still working, like bridges over the Mississippi River. Wait until they break.