New Delhi: A day after it launched its hurricane tracking mission, NASA on Friday morning confirmed that all eight spacecraft of its latest Earth science mission are in good shape.
The Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) - a constellation of eight micro-satellites – was launched into Earth orbit at 8:37 a.m. EST Thursday December 15, aboard an Orbital ATK air-launched Pegasus XL rocket.
CYGNSS's micro-satellites will measure wind speeds over Earth's oceans, increasing the ability of scientists to understand and predict hurricanes.
CYGNSS will do this by using both direct and reflected signals from existing GPS satellites to obtain estimates of surface wind speed over the ocean.
“CYGNSS will provide us with detailed measurements of hurricane wind speeds, an important indicator of a storm’s intensity,” said Christopher Ruf, CYGNSS principal investigator at the University of Michigan’s Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering in Ann Arbor. “Ultimately, the measurements from this mission will help improve hurricane track and intensity forecasts.”
According to Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, the launch of CYGNSS is a first for NASA and for the scientific community, adding that the mission will make unprecedented measurements in the most violent, dynamic, and important portions of tropical storms and hurricanes.
CYGNSS is the first orbital mission competitively selected by NASA’s Earth Venture program, managed by the Earth System Science Pathfinder (ESSP) Program Office at NASA’s Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia.