NASA launched its Latest Mission on Dec 15 to observe weird hurricanes.
A rocket named ATK Pegasus XL was launched by NASA’s 8- CYGNSS, Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System to observe space hurricanes. The rocket launched by an aircraft that flew from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida Dec 15, 2016.
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Scientist expected the launch on Dec 12, but it delayed for two reasons, there were issues in hydraulic pump, and NASA also needed spacecraft software for flight patch.
But, the delay proved good according to NASA scientists, because the spacecraft had smooth flight till the end. Launch director Tim Dunn stated that the mission event proved beautiful, and had smooth launch.
The mission is right on the track, and we will collect data coming week, stated Chris Ruf, CYGNSS principal investigator and a professor of Atmospheric Sciences and Electrical Engineering at the University of Michigan.
The reason NASA used the plane for satellite launch was because it was cost effective, stated Christine Bonniksen, CYGNSS program executive at NASA.
A research showed that Pegasus rockets proved successful several times, and L-1011's twin hull is so shaped that it can easily contain the rocket, stated Bryan Baldwin, Pegasus launch vehicle program manager with Orbital ATK.
NASA scientists are getting improved hurricane forecasts every day, stated Ruf during a press conference on Saturday. The spacecraft observes GPS signals reflected by oceans which scatter when there is intense wind over the water. These signals help scientist calculate wind speed.
Purpose of this launch is not only to observe hurricanes alone, but a group of scientists are also studying soil moisture and Madden-Julian Oscillation that effects rainfall that happens over Indian Ocean.
CYGNSS can take measurements at seven hour intervals to observe the changes, according to Space.com. CYGNSS is expected to survive for two years, but scientists hope it might extend depending on satellites’ condition, and the quality of data they produce.