NASA Targets Wednesday For Launch Of CYGNSS Satellites

An Orbital ATK L-1011 Stargazer aircraft carrying a Pegasus XL Rocket with eight NASA Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System, or CYGNSS, spacecraft takes off from the Skid Strip at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Image Credit: NASA/Ben Smegelsky

December 13, 2016 – NASA is rescheduling the launch of its Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) spacecraft for no earlier than Wednesday, December 14, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, during a one-hour window that opens at 6:20 a.m. MST.

Live launch commentary will begin at 5 a.m. MST from nearby NASA Kennedy Space Center, and carried live on NASA Television and the agency’s website. A prelaunch program by NASA EDGE will begin at 4 a.m.

CYGNSS will take off aboard an Orbital Sciences ATK air-launched Pegasus XL launch vehicle. The rocket is scheduled for deployment at 6:25 a.m. MST over the Atlantic Ocean from Orbital’s L-1011 carrier aircraft.

Monday’s launch was aborted due to an issue with the launch vehicle release system on the L-1011 Stargazer. A hydraulic system operates the mechanism that releases the Pegasus rocket from the carrier aircraft. The hydraulic system functioned properly during the pre-flight checks of the airplane.

The current targeted Wednesday launch time will allow for a replacement L-1011 carrier aircraft component to arrive from Mojave, California, and be installed, as well as support the required crew rest requirements.

Once in orbit, CYGNSS will make frequent and accurate measurements of ocean surface winds throughout the lifecycle of tropical storms and hurricanes. The CYGNSS constellation consists of eight microsatellite observatories that will measure surface winds in and near a hurricane’s inner core, including regions beneath the eyewall and intense inner rainbands that previously could not be measured from space.

Live coverage also will be available on social media at:

Live countdown coverage on NASA’s Launch Blog begins at 5 a.m. Coverage will include live updates as countdown milestones occur, as well as video clips highlighting launch preparations and the flight.

The Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in San Antonio built the CYGNSS micro satellites. SwRI will host the mission operations center at its Boulder, Colorado location.