The NASA has successfully launched constellation of eight mini-satellites as part Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) into space to improve hurricane forecasting.
These satellites were air launched by aerospace company Orbital ATK onboard of Pegasus rocket fired from plane at height of 12km. NASA had opted for air launch rather than traditional rocket liftoff from the ground, to cut costs.
- Each of the micro-satellite of CYGNSS weighs just 64 pounds (32kg) and has 5-foot wingspan. They will be placed into the orbit 500km above earth’s surface.
- They have GPS navigation receivers to frequently measure the surface roughness of oceans. It will allow scientists to calculate wind speed and storm intensity.
- Unlike weather satellites already in orbit, these satellites can peer through rain swirling in a hurricane, all the way into the core or eye.