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Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (EVM-1) (CYGNSS)

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Status: Current, Extended Mission
Mission Category: Earth System Science Pathfinder Program, Earth Venture Class, Earth Venture-Mission
Launch Date: December 15, 2016
Launch Location: NASA' Kennedy Space Center

The Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) aims to improve extreme weather prediction. CYGNSS will use a constellation of eight small satellites carried to orbit on a single launch vehicle. In orbit, CYGNSS’s eight micro-satellite observatories will receive both direct and reflected signals from Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites. The direct signals pinpoint CYGNSS observatory positions, while the reflected signals respond to ocean surface roughness, from which wind speed is retrieved. The mission will study the relationship between ocean surface properties, moist atmospheric thermodynamics, radiation and convective dynamics to determine how a tropical cyclone forms and whether or not it will strengthen, and if so by how much. This will advance forecasting and tracking methods. CYGNSS data will enable scientists, for the first time, to probe key air-sea interaction processes that take place near the inner core of the storms, which are rapidly changing and play large roles in the genesis and intensification of hurricanes.


Key Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (EVM-1) Facts

Mission/Portal Page:
Launch Vehicle: ATK Pegasus XL
Altitude:Distance from sea level. 510km
Inclination: 35°
Origination: NASA
Instruments: Delay Doppler Mapping Instrument
Principal Investigator(s): Christopher Ruf, University of Michigan

Relevant Science Focus Areas:

  • Air-sea interaction processes

Science Goals:

  • CYGNSS will measure ocean surface wind speed in all precipitating conditions, including those experienced within the inner core of tropical cyclones.
  • CYGNSS will measure ocean surface wind speed within the inner core of tropical cyclones with sufficient frequency to resolve their formation and rapid intensification.