The Department of Defense (DoD)-sponsored Space Test Program-Houston 8 (STP-H8) mission, carrying Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Compact Ocean Wind Vector Radiometer (COWVR) and Temporal Experiment for Storms and Tropical Systems (TEMPEST), is scheduled to launch to the International Space Station on December 21, 2021 from the Kennedy Space Center. These instruments offer technology demonstrations of low-cost passive microwave sensors for weather-related applications. COWVR and TEMPEST together provide simultaneous measurements such as ocean-surface vector winds, precipitable water vapor, cloud liquid water, and brightness temperature under the DoD funding. The real-time data stream for these measurements will be delivered via the Tracking and Data Reply Satellite System (TDRSS). A Science Working Group (SWG) named Air-Sea interface and Atmospheric Profile observatory (ASAP) was formed in early 2021 to provide community leadership for advancing the research and applications using COWVR and TEMPEST measurements. With NASA’s support, members of the ASAP-SWG will also develop products for water vapor profile, precipitation rate, and ice water path using the STP-H8 mission measurements. The simultaneous measurements of air-sea interface and atmospheric profiles present significant advantages for research and applications in the areas of storm forecasting, weather and atmospheric dynamics, air-sea interactions, climate sciences and model improvements. STP-H8 is planned as a 3-year mission.
PO.DAAC is NASA’s designated archive and distribution center for the STP-H8 mission data, with the science data to be provided in HDF-5 format. Public release of data is planned in late 2022, following the calibration/validation period. This new mission will supplement the PO.DAAC archive with additional relevant data (e.g., for ocean-surface vector winds) that are non-sun-synchronous, thereby enhancing existing measurements from sun-synchronous sensors/platforms.
- NASA News: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/jpl/small-but-mighty-nasa-weather-instruments-prepare-for-launch
- Description of COWVR in the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Observing Systems Capability Analysis and Review Tool (OSCAR): https://space.oscar.wmo.int/instruments/view/cowvr