Nasa reveals CYGNSS, the hurricane tracking mission is in good shape


Nasa on Friday morning has confirmed that all of the eight spacecraft of its latest Earth science mission are in good shape. A day before, on Thursday, December 15, at 8:37 am, the space agency has launched its hurricane tracking mission which consists of the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS).

Nasa revealed that CYGNSS is a constellation of eight microsatellites launched into Earth orbit, aboard an Orbital ATK air-launched Pegasus XL rocket. These satellites are launched to report the wind speeds over Earth’s oceans, increasing the ability of scientists to understand and predict hurricanes. Nasa scientists said that the CYGNSS will use both direct and reflected signals from existing GPS satellites, for the same.

Christopher Ruf, CYGNSS principal investigator at the University of Michigan’s Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering in Ann Arbor said, “CYGNSS will provide us with detailed measurements of hurricane wind speeds, an important indicator of a storm’s intensity.”

“Ultimately, the measurements from this mission will help improve hurricane track and intensity forecasts,” he further added.

Here is the complete schedule as described by NASA on their website.

Friday, December 9, 8:00 a.m. – Coverage of the launch of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV)cargo transfer spacecraft from Tanegashima, Japan. HTV-6 “KOUNOTORI6” will deliver cargo and supplies to the International Space Station. The launch is scheduled at 8:26 a.m. EST.

CYGNSS (Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System) Launch Events

Saturday, December 10, 1 p.m – CYGNSS prelaunch news conference at the Kennedy Press Site.

Saturday, December 10, 1:45 p.m – CYGNSS mission science briefing.

Monday, December 12, 5:45 a.m. – NASA EDGE prelaunch coverage of the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS)hurricane mission.

Monday, December 12, 6:45 a.m. – Coverage of launch of the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) hurricane mission from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The 90- minute launch window opens at 8:19 a.m.

American Geophysical Union fall meeting, Dec. 12-15

NASA researchers are presenting new findings on a wide range of Earth and space science topics:

  • Monday, Dec. 12, noon EST – How animals will fare in a changing climate
  • Monday, Dec. 12, 2:30 p.m. EST – Mapping the flow of ice around the globe
  • Monday, Dec. 12, 5:30 p.m. EST – Defending the home planet
  • Monday, Dec. 12, 7 p.m. EST – The ocean’s hidden heat
  • Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2:30 p.m. EST – News from Gale Crater: Recent findings from NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover
  • Tuesday, Dec. 13, 8 p.m. EST – Integrating scientific research into local decision-making
  • Wednesday, Dec. 14, noon EST – New research on the ionosphere, our interface to space
  • Thursday, Dec. 15, 1:30 p.m. EST – Dawn science update

Other upcoming events:

Monday, December 12, 3:00 p.m. – NASA news conference at Kennedy Space Center with cast members from the 20th Century Fox motion picture Hidden Figures. Hidden Figures, based on the book of the same title by Margot Lee Shetterly, chronicles the lives of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson — African-American women working at NASA as “human computers,” who were critical to the success of John Glenn’s Friendship 7 mission in 1962.

Tuesday, December 13, 4:30 a.m. – Coverage of the grapple of the JAXA HTV-6 “KOUNOTORI6” cargo spacecraft at the International Space Station. Capture of the spacecraft is scheduled for around 6:00 a.m.

Tuesday, December 13, 9:15 a.m. – Coverage of the installation of the JAXA HTV-6 “KOUNOTORI6” cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station’s Harmony module.

The Earth System Science Pathfinder (ESSP) Program Office at NASA’s Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia, who manages the mission said that the CYGNSS is the first orbital mission competitively selected by NASA’s Earth Venture program.

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