Forecast: 80 Percent ‘Go’ for Thursday Launch

NASA’s CYGNSS mission has been rescheduled for launch Thursday, Dec. 15 at 8:26 a.m. EST. The forecast calls for an 80 percent chance of acceptable conditions during the 1-hour launch window.

Mission personnel uploaded new flight parameter data to the CYGNSS spacecraft this morning, correcting an issue discovered during routine testing on Tuesday.

The launch will be broadcast live on NASA-TV  with coverage beginning at 7 a.m. EST.  NASA EDGE will provide prelaunch coverage beginning at 6 a.m.

During the one-hour window, CYGNSS will take off aboard an Orbital ATK air-launched Pegasus XL launch vehicle. The rocket is scheduled for deployment over the Atlantic Ocean from Orbital’s L-1011 carrier aircraft.

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.

The Space Physics Research Laboratory at the University of Michigan College of Engineering in Ann Arbor leads overall mission execution in partnership with the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas. The Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering Department at the University of Michigan leads the science investigation. The Earth Science Division of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate oversees the mission.

NASA Targets Wednesday for CYGNSS Launch

The Orbital ATK Stargazer L-1011 in flight.NASA is rescheduling the launch of its CYGNSS spacecraft for no earlier than Wednesday, Dec. 14, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, during a one-hour window that opens at 8:20 a.m. EST.

Live launch commentary will begin at 7 a.m. 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 6 a.m.

CYGNSS will take off aboard an Orbital Sciences ATK air-launched Pegasus XL launch vehicle. The rocket is scheduled for deployment at 8:25 a.m. 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.

Forecast Improves to 60 Percent ‘Go’

The L-1 Day forecast from the U.S. Air Force 45th Weather Squadron has improved to a 60 percent chance of favorable weather for the launch of NASA’s CYGNSS mission spacecraft. Launch is scheduled for 8:24 a.m. EST Monday during the one-hour window, which opens at 8:19 a.m. CYGNSS will take off aboard an Orbital Sciences ATK air-launched Pegasus XL launch vehicle about an hour before launch. The rocket is scheduled for deployment over the Atlantic Ocean from Orbital’s L-1011 carrier aircraft. Launch coverage will begin at 6:30 a.m. here on NASA’s Launch Blog and at 7 a.m. on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

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. For more information about NASA’s CYGNSS mission, visit https://www.nasa.gov/cygnss

CYGNSS L-1 Day Launch Weather Forecast

Launch Day:
Probability of Weather Prohibiting Launch:  40%
Primary Concern:    Flight Through Precipitation, Cumulus Clouds

If Launch Delayed 24 Hours:
Probability of Weather Prohibiting Launch:  20%
Primary Concern:    Precipitation, Cumulus Clouds

A Day of CYGNSS Activities

It is L-2 days here in Florida for NASA’s CYGNSS mission and there are several events scheduled that can be seen on social media and NASA TV this afternoon. We’ve also released a pair of launch preview videos which you can see at the bottom or on Kennedy’s YouTube page. The CYGNSS mission is to launch Monday at 8:24 a.m. EST. Here’s what’s coming up today:

Noon – Facebook Live
Kennedy will host a Facebook Live event at noon from the Skid Strip runway at nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Briefers will highlight both the science involved in the CYGNSS mission, as well as the L-1011 aircraft and the Pegasus rocket, and participants will get a view inside the airplane. The event will stream live on Kennedy’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/NASAKennedy

1 p.m. – Prelaunch news conference (NASA TV)
Briefing participants are:
Christine Bonniksen, CYGNSS program executive in the Earth Science Division, of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate
Tim Dunn, launch director at Kennedy
Bryan Baldwin, Pegasus launch vehicle program manager with Orbital ATK
John Scherrer, CYGNSS project manager at the Southwest Research Institute
Mike Rehbein, launch weather officer with the 45th Weather Squadron at Cape Canaveral

1:45 p.m. – CYGNSS Mission Science Briefing (NASA TV)
Briefing participants include:
Chris Ruf, CYGNSS principal investigator with the Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering at the University of Michigan
Aaron Ridley, CYGNSS constellation scientist with the Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering at the University of Michigan
Mary Morris, doctoral student with the Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering at the University of Michigan

Weather Forecast Remains 40 Percent Favorable for Monday Launch

The L-2 Day forecast from the U.S. Air Force 45th Weather Squadron continues to predict a 40 percent chance of favorable weather for the launch of NASA’s Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) spacecraft. Primary concerns are precipitation, lightning and cumulus clouds.

Launch is scheduled for 8:24 a.m. EST Monday, Dec. 12. During the one-hour window, which opens at 8:19 a.m., CYGNSS will take off aboard an Orbital ATK air-launched Pegasus XL launch vehicle. The rocket is scheduled for deployment over the Atlantic Ocean from Orbital’s L-1011 carrier aircraft.

The Winged Pegasus: An Unusual Launch Experience

Technicians and engineers perform final wing installations on the Orbital ATK Pegasus XL rocket which will launch eight NASA Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System, or CYGNSS, spacecraft.

Pegasus_launch_fullOrbital ATK’s Pegasus rocket gets its payloads into space just like a conventional rocket, but instead of lifting off from the ground, the Pegasus starts its trip already in the air. That’s because a modified L-1011 airliner carries the Pegasus and its payload – CYGNSS in this case – to about 39,000 feet. Pegasus begins its solo flight by being released from the belly of the airliner.

Five seconds of free-fall ends when the solid-fueled first stage ignites. With its main, delta-shaped wing providing lift and a rudder and elevators on the back steering, the Pegasus noses up quickly and heads into orbit, discarding its first stage after leaving the thick portion of the atmosphere. The second and third stages, also burning solid propellants, take over to place the satellites in their prescribed orbit. Here’s a look at what makes the Pegasus flights different:

Forecast Worsens to 40 Percent ‘Go’

A revised forecast from the U.S. Air Force 45th Weather Squadron predicts deteriorating conditions and a 40 percent chance of favorable weather for the launch of NASA’s CYGNSS spacecraft. Launch is scheduled for 8:24 a.m. EST Monday, Dec. 12 aboard an Orbital Sciences ATK air-launched Pegasus XL launch vhicle, seen on the right beneath the L-1011 aircraft called “Stargazer” that will carry the rocket to a deployment altitude about 39,000 feet above the Atlantic Ocean.

The primary concerns are for precipitation, lightning and Cumulus clouds. The rocket is scheduled for deployment over the Atlantic Ocean from Orbital’s L-1011 carrier aircraft, seen above with the Pegasus underneath.

NASA’s Kennedy Space Center will host a Facebook Live event at noon on Saturday from the Skid Strip runway at nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Briefers will highlight the science involved in the CYGNSS mission, the L-1011 aircraft and the Pegasus rocket, and participants will get a view inside the airplane. The event will stream live on Kennedy’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/NASAKennedy

Managers from NASA and Orbital ATK will hold a final Launch Readiness Review Saturday morning, followed by two news conferences. The Prelaunch News Conference will be at 1 p.m., followed by the CYGNSS Mission Science Briefing at 1:45 p.m. Both will be carried live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

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. For more information about NASA’s CYGNSS mission, visit https://www.nasa.gov/cygnss

Forecast 70 Percent ‘Go’ For CYGNSS Launch on Monday

The first weather forecast for NASA’s CYGNSS mission shows meteorologists from the U.S. Air Force 45th Weather Squadron predict a 70 percent chance of favorable weather for the launch window. Launch is scheduled for 8:24 a.m. EST on Monday, Dec. 12. During the one-hour window, which opens at 8:19 a.m., CYGNSS will take off aboard an Orbital Sciences ATK air-launched Pegasus XL launch vehicle. The rocket is scheduled for deployment over the Atlantic Ocean from Orbital’s L-1011 carrier aircraft, seen in these photos with the Pegasus rocket beneath it. Photos by NASA/Kim Shiflett (top) and NASA/Randy Beaudoin.

NASA’s Kennedy Space Center will host a Facebook Live event at noon on Saturday from the Skid Strip runway at nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Briefers will highlight the science involved in the CYGNSS mission, the L-1011 aircraft and the Pegasus rocket, and participants will get a view inside the airplane. The event will stream live on Kennedy’s Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/NASAKennedy

Managers from NASA and Orbital ATK will hold a final Launch Readiness Review Saturday morning, followed by two news conferences. The Prelaunch News Conference will be at 1 p.m., followed by the CYGNSS Mission Science Briefing at 1:45 p.m. Both will be carried live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

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.

To learn more about the CYGNSS mission, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/cygnss