Launched in June 19, 1999, QuikSCAT was designed to be a “quick recovery” EOS satellite mission to fill the gap of global ocean surface wind vector observations which resulted from the unexpected failure of NSCAT in June of 1997. The SeaWinds scatterometer on QuikSCAT began producing science quality data on July 19, 1999. Since QuikSCAT’s launch, the SeaWinds instrument has continued to provide the same high quality data covering more than 90% of the ice-free oceans every day for more than 10 years.
QuikSCAT has a repeat period of approximately 4 days/57 orbits and the local equator crossing time at the ascending node is 6 hours +/- 30 minutes. The orbit period is approximately 101 minutes. QuikSCAT flies at a mean altitude of approximately 802.4 km and has an orbit inclination of 98.616°. The operational mission duration was intended for up to 3 years.
On 23 November 2009 (orbital rev number 54315), 7:07 UTC, the QuikSCAT antenna stalled to 0 RPM, and has remained stalled in a fixed-azimuth position since that time, with some exceptional brief periods in 2013 where the antenna began to spin. During this "non-spinning" mode, Level 2A (L2A) science data was not retrievable; hence the Level 2B (L2B) wind vectors were likewise also not retrievable.
For a more detailed history of the mission status, data gaps, and current mission status, please refer to the QuikSCAT Known Issues page.