NASA Sets Coverage for Briefings, Launch of Small Satellite Constellation

Artist's concept of the deployment of the eight Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) microsatellite observatories
Artist’s concept of the deployment of the eight Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) microsatellite observatories in space.
Credits: NASA

The launch of NASA’s Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) spacecraft is scheduled for 8:24 a.m. EST Monday, Dec. 12. News briefings, live launch commentary, photo opportunities and other media events will be held at nearby NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and carried live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

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.

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.

Saturday, Dec. 10

Social Media Event:

Kennedy will be hosting 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

NASA TV:

For all media briefings, reporters may ask questions by calling the Kennedy newsroom at 321-867-2468 no later than 15 minutes before briefings begin. Media also can ask questions via Twitter by using the hashtag #askNASA.

1 p.m. – Prelaunch news conference at the Kennedy Press Site

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

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

Monday, Dec. 12

NASA TV:

5:45 a.m. – Prelaunch program by NASA EDGE

6:45 a.m. – Launch coverage and commentary begins

Live coverage also will be available on social media at:

 http://www.twitter.com/NASAKennedy

https://www.facebook.com/NASAKennedy

Live countdown coverage on NASA’s Launch Blog begins at 6:30 a.m. Dec. 12. Coverage features live updates as countdown milestones occur, as well as video clips highlighting launch preparations and the flight. For NASA’s Launch Blog, visit:

http://blogs.nasa.gov/cygnss

To learn more about the CYGNSS mission, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/cygnss

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