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The global ocean surface wind vector is a key parameter for short-term weather forecasting, the issuing of timely weather warnings, and the gathering of general climatological data. In addition, it affects a broad range of naval missions, including strategic ship movement and positioning, aircraft carrier operations, aircraft deployment, effective weapons use, underway replenishment, and littoral operations. WindSat is a satellite-based multifrequency polarimetric microwave radiometer developed by the Naval Research Laboratory for the U.S. Navy and the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System Integrated Program Office. It is designed to demonstrate the capability of polarimetric microwave radiometry to measure the ocean surface wind vector from space. The sensor provides risk reduction for the development of the Conical Microwave Imager Sounder, which is planned to provide wind vector data operationally starting in 2010. WindSat is the primary payload on the Department of Defense Coriolis satellite, which was launched on January 6, 2003. It is in an 840-km circular sun-synchronous orbit. The WindSat payload is performing well and is currently undergoing rigorous calibration and validation to verify mission success.