NASA CYGNSS satellite mission to target hurricane forecasting

NASA´s Langley Research Center has scheduled December 12 for the launch of Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS), a new set of satellites designed to oversee a new wave of advanced weather prediction and storm tracking, the administration said.

NASA said previous space-borne instruments have been unable to accurately measure ocean surface winds in the inner core of hurricanes because their signals are degraded in regions of heavy precipitation. The new collection of eight low-cost, low-Earth orbiting micro-satellite observatories will travel to space on a single launch vehicle to target hurricane forecasting.

CYGNSS will measure surface winds in and near the inner core of tropical systems, including regions beneath the eye wall and intense inner rain-bands that could not previously be measured from space. The instrument will make the measurements using direct and reflecting signals from GPS satellites already in orbit.

In orbit, each CYGNSS observatory will receive both direct and reflected signals from the GPS satellites. The direct signals will help pinpoint CYGNSS observatory positions, while the reflected signals respond to ocean surface roughness, from which wind speed is retrieved.