The Seasat scatterometer (SASS) first demonstrated that winds could be measured from space using spaceborne scatterometers. Such measurements are crucial in understanding air/sea interaction and in studies of global climate. New scatterometer technologies promise lighter and cheaper instruments in the future. In this paper a scatterometer concept known as ASCAT (A Scanning Scatterometer) is presented. ASCAT is a conically- scanning pencil-beam scatterometer system designed for flight on a small satellite. Coupled with an advanced wind retrieval algorithm, the design concept is inherently very flexible and is suited for a variety of tradeoffs in its design and implementation. Some of these tradeoffs are discussed and associated performance estimates are presented.