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Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (EVM-1) (CYGNSS)

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Status: Current, Extended Mission
Mission Category: Earth System Science Pathfinder Program, Earth Venture Class, Earth Venture-Mission
Launch Date: December 15, 2016
Launch Location: NASA' Kennedy Space Center

The Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) aims to improve extreme weather prediction. CYGNSS uses a constellation of eight small satellites to make 24/7 measurements of ocean surface winds, both globally and in tropical cyclones, which can be used to study meteorological processes and improve numerical weather forecasts. Over land, measurements of flood inundation and soil moisture are also continuously made, to be used in hydrological process studies and for disaster monitoring. In orbit, CYGNSS’s eight micro-satellite observatories receive both direct and reflected signals from Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites. The direct signals pinpoint CYGNSS observatory positions, while the reflected signals respond to ocean surface roughness, from which wind speed is retrieved. The mission studies the relationship between ocean surface properties, moist atmospheric thermodynamics, radiation and convective dynamics to determine how a tropical cyclone forms and whether or not it will strengthen, and if so by how much. This will advance forecasting and tracking methods. CYGNSS data enables scientists to probe key air-sea interaction processes that take place near the inner core of storms, which are rapidly changing and play large roles in the genesis and intensification of hurricanes.


Key Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (EVM-1) Facts

Mission/Portal Page:§ions=about%2Bnews
Launch Vehicle: ATK Pegasus XL
Altitude:Distance from sea level. 510km
Inclination: 35°
Origination: NASA
Instruments: Delay Doppler Mapping Instrument
Principal Investigator(s): Christopher Ruf, University of Michigan

Relevant Science Focus Areas:

  • Air-sea interaction processes

Science Goals:

  • CYGNSS measures ocean surface wind speed in all precipitating conditions, including those experienced within the inner core of tropical cyclones.
  • CYGNSS measures ocean surface wind speed within the inner core of tropical cyclones with sufficient frequency to resolve their formation and rapid intensification.