NASA's CYGNSS mission to use eight microsatellites to track hurricane intensification

Launch aborted Monday, rescheduled for Tuesday
Posted at 7:23 AM, Dec 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-12 09:49:21-05

NASA's CYGNSS mission could help scientists understand why and how hurricanes intensify over warm waters.

CYGNSS stands for Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System. It is made up of eight microsatellites that will orbit 316 miles above the Earth's surface to scan the core of tropical systems. The goal of the mission is to improve hurricane intensity forecasts.

The launch was scrubbed on Monday morning after a hydraulic pump issue. Another attempt is scheduled for Tuesday morning.

Each microsatellite weighs close to 64 pounds and contains a Delayed Doppler Mapping Instrument (DDMI), which will provide scientists unprecedented details on the formation, intensification and decay of hurricanes.



The DDMI will receive direct and reflected signals from Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites to observe wind speeds of the storms.

NASA notes since 1990 hurricane track forecasting has improved in accuracy by about 50 percent, but during that time meteorologists have been unable to improve the accuracy of tropical system intensity forecasts.