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NASA, University of Michigan Start Hurricane-Tracking Microsatellite Development

satelliteNASA and the University of Michigan have started to build a new satellite network to help scientists examine hurricanes’ inner core from space and forecast changes in storm intensity.

The agency said Wednesday the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System mission would use an eight-microsatellite constellation and leverage existing direct and reflected GPS satellite signals to measure the speed of ocean surface winds.

NASA completed two key assessments on the hurricane-monitoring satellite program earlier this summer.

“These reviews were a major milestone for CYGNSS, marking the end of the detailed design and planning stages of the mission and the beginning of flight hardware assembly,” said Chris Ruf, the University of Michigan’s CYGNSS principal investigator.

The Southwest Research Institute will support construction and testing of the microsatellites at a San Antonio facility and host a mission operations center in Boulder, Colorado.

NASA plans to use an Orbital ATK-built Pegasus XL rocket to send CYGNSS to low-Earth orbit in late 2016.

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