BackForwardInstrument:  NSCAT 

Instrument details
Acronym NSCAT
Full name NASA Scatterometer
Purpose Sea surface wind
Short description Ku-band (13.995 GHz), side looking both left and right. 3 antennas on each side
Background Evolution of SASS flown on SeaSat
Scanning Technique Pushbroom, two swaths of 600 km on each side cross-track, gap of 330 km in between
Resolution 50 km (sampling: 25 km)
Coverage / Cycle Global in 1.5 days
Mass 280 kg Power 240 W Data Rate 3.2 kbps


Providing Agency NASA
Instrument Maturity Flown on an R&D satellite
Utilization Period: 1996 to 1997
Last update: 2012-09-13
Detailed characteristics
Satellites this instrument is flying on

Note: a red tag indicates satellites no longer operational, a green tag indicates operational satellites, a blue tag indicates future satellites

Instrument classification
  • Earth observation instrument
  • Active and radio-occultation sensor
  • Scatterometer
WIGOS Subcomponents
  • Subcomponent 1
  • Scatterometers [in SSO]
  • Scatterometer [in SSO]
Mission objectives
Primary mission objectives
  • Wind speed (near surface)
  • Wind vector (near surface)
Evaluation of Measurements

The following list indicates which measurements can typically be retrieved from this category of instrument. To see a full Gap Analysis by Variable, click on the respective variable.

Note: table can be sorted by clicking on the column headers
Note: * Primary mission objective.
VariableRelevance for measuring this variableOperational limitationsExplanation
Leaf Area Index (LAI)4 - fairCoarse spatial resolution.Ku-band scatterometer sensitive to LAI
Sea-ice type1 - primaryNo specific limitation.Scatterometer, Ku-band (around 13.3 GHz). Type interpreted as age/roughness
Snow cover3 - highCoarse spatial resolution.. Thick snow only.Scatterometer in Ku-band (around 13.3 GHz)
Snow status (wet/dry)3 - highCoarse spatial resolution.. Thick snow only.Scatterometer in Ku-band (around 13.3 GHz)
Snow water equivalent5 - marginalCoarse spatial resolution.. Ground stations network needed.Scatterometer in Ku-band (around 13.3 GHz)
Soil moisture at surface3 - highCoarse spatial resolution.. Strongly affected by vegetation.Scatterometer in Ku-band (around 13.3 GHz)
Wind speed (near surface)*1 - primaryOver sea only.Ku-band scatterometer around 13.3 GHz
Wind vector (near surface)*2 - very highOver sea only.Ku-band scatterometer around 13.3 GHz