CYGNSS Media Op at the Kennedy Space Center.

On Saturday December 10th NASA invited news media outlets to Kennedy Space Center for CYGNSS pre-launch and mission science news conference, an up-close look at the Pegasus-XL rocket and the Orbital ATK L-1011 aircraft the rocket launches from.

Once at the Kennedy Space Center, we took part in the news conference held in the NASA TV building. After the news conference media boarded a NASA bus, which took the media personnel over to the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Skid Strip where the Orbital ATK L-1011 aircraft and Pegasus-XL rocket were being prepared for flight/launch on Monday morning.

This was the first time for both Scott and I to photograph a Pegasus-XL rocket and a first trip to the Skid Strip at the Air Force Station. Once at the Skid Strip, Media was advised of the dangers of being on the strip with the Pegasus-XL rocket. After our briefing we were allowed to photograph the L-1011 Stargazer with the Pegasus-XL rocket underneath. We were also allowed to view the inside of the Orbital ATK Stargazer, which was a great experience.


360° panoramic images showing the Orbital ATK Stargazer with the Pegasus-XL rocket at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Skid Strip with the CYGNSS micro-satellites.

Media invited to Kennedy Space Center for the CYGNSS mission news conference, view of the Orbital ATK L-1011 Stargazer, Pegasus-XL rocket and more. Media invited to Kennedy Space Center for the CYGNSS mission news conference, view of the Orbital ATK L-1011 Stargazer, Pegasus-XL rocket and more. Media invited to Kennedy Space Center for the CYGNSS mission news conference, view of the Orbital ATK L-1011 Stargazer, Pegasus-XL rocket and more. Media invited to Kennedy Space Center for the CYGNSS mission news conference, view of the Orbital ATK L-1011 Stargazer, Pegasus-XL rocket and more. Media invited to Kennedy Space Center for the CYGNSS mission news conference, view of the Orbital ATK L-1011 Stargazer, Pegasus-XL rocket and more. Media invited to Kennedy Space Center for the CYGNSS mission news conference, view of the Orbital ATK L-1011 Stargazer, Pegasus-XL rocket and more. Media invited to Kennedy Space Center for the CYGNSS mission news conference, view of the Orbital ATK L-1011 Stargazer, Pegasus-XL rocket and more. Media invited to Kennedy Space Center for the CYGNSS mission news conference, view of the Orbital ATK L-1011 Stargazer, Pegasus-XL rocket and more. Media invited to Kennedy Space Center for the CYGNSS mission news conference, view of the Orbital ATK L-1011 Stargazer, Pegasus-XL rocket and more.

CYGNSS Mission Overview

CYGNSS stands for Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System. The CYGNSS mission will use eight micro-satellites to measure wind speeds over Earth’s oceans, increasing the ability of scientists to understand and predict hurricanes. Each satellite will take information based on the signals from four GPS satellites.

From NASA:

The use of eight satellites will also increase the area on Earth that can be measured. The instruments will be deployed separately around the planet, with successive satellites passing over the same region every 12 minutes. As the CYGNSS and GPS constellations move around the earth, the interaction of the two systems will result in a  new image of wind speed over the entire tropics every few hours, compared to every few days  for a single satellite.

“This sampling strategy will overcome the limitations of a previous single, wide-swath approach,” said Ruf.

Another advantage – the CYGNSS orbit is designed to measure only in the tropics, where hurricanes are most often found. Traditional polar-orbiting  weather satellites measure the whole globe because they are trying to capture all types of data. The focus on tropical activity means the CYGNSS instruments will be able to gather that much more useful data on weather systems exclusively found in the tropics.

This data will be shared with NOAA and used to help emergency managers make decisions regarding extreme weather planning.

Learn more about the CYGNSS mission at the NASA website.

If you missed the news conference about the CYGNSS mission you can view it below.

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