NASA To Launch Eight New Hurricane Satellites Today
Advances in hurricane forecasting have grown by leaps and bounds ever since mankind has been able to get a bird's eye view of the oceans around us. Today NASA hopes to increase forecasters ability to make even more accurate predictions about this devastating storms.
The Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System or CYGNSS will actually deploy 8 small satellites this morning. This cluster of eyes in the sky will watch the tropical regions of our planet between 35 degrees north and 35 degrees south of the equator.
Besides the fact that these satellite systems will work in unison to help forecasters more accurately predict the strength of a tropical system is the way they are being deployed. Shortly before 6 AM Louisiana time an L-1011 Stargazer carrier airplane will lift an Orbital ATK Pegasus XL rocket to a specified altitude. At that time, approximately 7:24 AM CST, the rocket will disengage from the aircraft, ignite its motors, and carry the satellite cluster into space.
The satellite's primary goal is to monitor surface winds over the planet's oceans. The system will use GPS to monitor those wind speeds by using the reflection of a signal off of the surface of the ocean. Another benefit of the CYGNSS satellite configuration is the timetable in which data can be transmitted to forecasters.
Another benefit of the CYGNSS satellite configuration is the timetable in which data can be transmitted to forecasters. Currently, satellites can only transmit updated images of storm systems every three days. That's how long it takes for the satellite to reposition itself over the storm. The new system will offer forecasters detailed images and information every seven hours.
If you're a weather geek or you just enjoy watching a really cool video of rockets launching from beneath airplanes you can view the launch via a special NASA link. Coverage will go live at 5:45 AM CST.