WindSat is a satellite-based polarimetric microwave radiometer developed by the Naval Research Laboratory Remote
Sensing Division and the Naval Center for Space Technology for the U.S. Navy and the National Polar-orbiting
Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Integrated Program Office (IPO). WindSat is designed to
demonstrate the capability of polarimetric microwave radiometry to measure the ocean surface wind vector from
space. It is the primary payload on the Coriolis mission, which is jointly sponsored by the DoD Space Test
Program and the U.S. Navy (SPAWAR PMW-180). Spectrum-Astro of Gilbert, Arizona, built the spacecraft. The
WindSat/Coriolis mission was launched on a Titan II rocket from Vandenburg Air Force Base on 06 January 2003.
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In addition to providing the Navy with badly needed ocean surface wind vector measurements, WindSat also measures
other environmental parameters such as sea surface temperature, total precipitable water, integrated cloud liquid
water, and rain rate over the ocean. WindSat is also being used to measure soil moisture and sea ice. Imagery and
wind retrievals from WindSat are used by forecasters to monitor tropical cyclone structure. WindSat measurements
over the ocean are also used operationally as input to numerical weather prediction models of the U.S. Navy, the
U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the United Kingdom Met Office.