Orbital ATK’s Pegasus XL rocket will be dropped from a modified jumbo jet on Thursday, December 15, 2016 to power into orbit with eight mini-satellites that set out to peer into the inside of Hurricanes and reveal hidden mechanisms of storm intensification.
Firing three solid-fueled rocket stages, Pegasus will deliver the CYGNSS satellites into a 500-Kilometer orbit in a mission of less than 15 minutes.
CYGNSS – the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System – aims to measure winds over the world’s oceans by measuring GPS signals reflected off the ocean surface. This measurement can penetrate the dense rain bands surrounding the inside of hurricanes, obstructing the view of storm dynamics for conventional sensors.
Launch Vehicle: Pegasus XL
Launch Site: Air-Launched from L-1011
Drop Zone: Atlantic Ocean
L-1011 Staging Site: Cape Canaveral, Florida
Launch Date: December 15, 2016
Launch Window: 13:21 – 14:21 UTC
Drop Time: 13:26 UTC
Payload: 8 CYGNSS
Mission Duration: 14 Minutes & 26 Seconds
Type: Non-Synchronous LEO
Altitude: 510 Kilometers, Circular