NASA is rescheduling the launch of its Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (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.
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.