Watch launch of hurricane-tracking satellite fleet

December 8, 2016


DATE: 6:30-9 a.m. Monday, Dec. 12, 2016

EVENT: Live viewing party of the launch of the CYGNSS (pronounced SIG-nus) satellite system. The Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System is a $151 million, University of Michigan-led mission that will give scientists unprecedented information about how hurricanes intensify.

CYGNSS will collect the first space-based measurements of the surface wind speeds in and near the core of hurricanes. The system is a constellation of eight small satellites, and it’s expected to lead to more accurate forecasts of storm surge.

CYGNSS launches from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Ann Arbor viewing party will be moderated by Nilton Renno, U-M professor of climate and space sciences and engineering. Highlights include:

Special remarks from Aaron Ridley, U-M professor of climate and space sciences and engineering and CYGNSS constellation scientist. Ridley will address the Ann Arbor audience remotely from Cape Canaveral.
Livestream of NASA TV launch events, including: Around 7 a.m., a Lockheed L-1011 Stargazer aircraft, carrying an air-launch Orbital ATK Pegasus XL rocket, will take off from Kennedy Space Center and head east over the Atlantic. Once the aircraft reaches approximately 40,000 feet, it will release the Pegasus rocket, which will then carry CYGNSS into low Earth orbit. The launch from the aircraft is scheduled for 8:24 ET, with a launch window of an hour. All eight satellites are expected to be deployed within 15 minutes of launch.

INFORMATION: Please RSVP. Follow the launch on Twitter at #CYGNSS, @umclasp and @UMengineering. Mary Morris, a U-M doctoral student involved in CYGNSS, will blog from the launch on NASA’s Earth Observatory blog.

PLACE: Space Research Building, Room 2446, 2455 Hayward St. on U-M’s North Campus. Or watch the launch remotely on NASA TV.