NASA has said the space agency’s new group of eight small Earth science mission satellites reached orbit safely and is on track to monitor tropical storms and hurricanes.
The Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System will work to measure ocean surface winds within and near a hurricane’s inner core such as regions beneath the eyewall and intense inner rainbands, NASA said Friday.
Christopher Ruf, CYGNSS principal investigator at the University of Michigan’s climate and space sciences and engineering department, said measurements from the satellite constellation will aid hurricane tracking and intensity forecasting activities.
The constellation is designed to use direct and reflected signals from existing GPS satellites to measure surface wind speed over the ocean, NASA noted.
The agency selected CYGNSS as the first orbital mission under the Earth Venture program which aims to support low-cost Earth science missions.
Southwest Research Institute led the development, integration and operation of CYGNSS microsatellites while the University of Michigan College of Engineering oversees mission execution and science investigation.