WATCH REPLAY: NASA’s CYGNSS Mission Launched Today From Cape Canaveral
By Space Coast Daily // December 15, 2016
SPACE COAST DAILY TV SPECIAL PRESENTATION
ABOVE VIDEO: NASA’s CYGNSS mission will begin with a launch into orbit aboard an Orbital ATK Pegasus. So instead of lifting straight into space from the ground, the rocket will be flown underneath an airliner to about 39,000 feet and released. After ignition, the Pegasus will soar away from the carrier aircraft, point its nose to the sky and burn through three stages to place the CYGNSS constellation of eight small satellites into orbit. Watch the launch live via Space Coast Daily TV’s Facebook Live stream beginning at 7 a.m., with launch set at 8:26 a.m.
BREVARD COUNTY • KENNEDY SPACE CENTER – The Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) mission launched Thursday at 8:26 a.m. from Cape Canaveral, Florida on an Orbital ATK Pegasus XL rocket.
Orbital ATK’s Pegasus rocket gets its payloads into space just like a conventional rocket, but instead of lifting off from the ground, the Pegasus starts its trip already in the air.
That’s because a modified L-1011 airliner carries the Pegasus and its payload – CYGNSS in this case – to about 39,000 feet. Pegasus begins its solo flight by being released from the belly of the airliner.
Five seconds of free-fall ends when the solid-fueled first stage ignites. With its main, delta-shaped wing providing lift and a rudder and elevators on the back steering, the Pegasus noses up quickly and heads into orbit, discarding its first stage after leaving the thick portion of the atmosphere.
The CYGNSS mission will use radio signals from the GPS satellites to measure the wind speed of hurricanes near the ground in the tropics, between 35 degrees north and 35 degrees south where most hurricanes are born.
“The mission will focus on surface winds,” said Christine Bonniksen, the CYGNSS program executive at NASA, during a press conference on Saturday at Kennedy Space Center.
“We can get information to better understand how those hurricanes grow.”
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