CYGNSS Undergoes Vibration Testing

Engineers prepare NASA’s eight Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) microsatellites, mounted on the deployment module, for vibration testing at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas. Image Credit: Southwest Research Institute

Engineers prepare NASA’s eight Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) microsatellites, mounted on the deployment module, for vibration testing at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas. Image Credit: Southwest Research Institute

August 10, 2016 – NASA’s Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) mission is currently undergoing vibration testing at the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in San Antonio, Texas. Vibration testing simulates the conditions that the eight micro satellites will undergo during launch.

The goal of CYGNSS is to improve hurricane intensity forecasts. The instrument aboard each of the eight CYGNSS spacecraft will measure surface winds in and near the inner core of hurricanes, including regions within the eye wall and intense inner rainbands that could not previously be measured from space. The CYGNSS-measured wind fields, when combined with precipitation fields from other satellites will provide coupled observations of moist atmospheric thermodynamics and ocean surface response, enabling new insights into hurricane inner core dynamics and energetics.

Vibration testing will wrap up in the next two weeks and be followed by preparations to ship the micro-satellites and deployment module to Vandenberg Air Force Base in California for integration with the launch vehicle.

CYGNSS is scheduled to launch November 21 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida aboard a Pegasus XL rocket from an Orbital ATK Stargazer L-1011 aircraft. When the rocket gets to the right altitude, the deployment module will start up and deploy pairs of satellites in opposite directions. Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) is designing the deployment module for the mission.

The Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio is building and testing the CYGNSS microsatellites and will host the mission operations center at its Boulder, Colorado location.

CYGNSS is funded through NASA’s Earth Science Division through its Earth System Science Pathfinder Program Office and developed by the University of Michigan.