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NASA To Launch CYGNSS Satellites Today To Improve Hurricane Forecasts

First Posted: Dec 12, 2016 03:31 AM EST

American space agency NASA is going to launch the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS), a group of eight micro-satellites on Monday morning at 8:24 a.m. (EST), the government website reported. The cluster of satellites will closely observe weather and ocean patterns and could be the crucial step forward to improve hurricane forecasts.

At present, hurricane forecasts are definitely better than before; however, the current technology is better at predicting the probable paths of hurricanes than their actual strengths. Hurricanes form above the open ocean, where due to lack of technology, data holes exist. Hurricane aircraft helps in getting measurements, but the information about the storm during its development stages is lacking.

The eight satellites that are soon going to be launched will work toward filling the gap and the data holes by giving more accurate data, as well as providing a clearer insight into the formation and sustenance of hurricanes. CYGNSS will receive signals from GPS satellites, which will not only position the system but also respond to the sea surface patterns.

Consequently, the network of satellites will be able to frequently monitor the sea surface winds near the hurricanes as they become stronger. Additionally, this is the first time that satellites can actually observe the interior of a hurricane, enabling more accurate forecasts in the future, especially as far as intensity is concerned, according to Space.com.

On Monday morning, depending on the weather, the Orbital ATK L-1011 Stargazer carrier plane, with the Pegasus XL rocket attached to it, will take off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and fly to a height of around 40,000 feet. At that point, the Pegasus engines will be fired out of the plane and will propel the CYGNSS system comprising of the eight satellites into low Earth orbit. The launch will be shown live on NASA TV beginning at 6:45 a.m. EST.

See Now: NASA's Juno Spacecraft's Rendezvous With Jupiter's Mammoth Cyclone

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