Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan

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NASA Awards Launch Services Contract for CYGNSS Mission

Posted: April 3, 2014

NASA Awards Launch Services Contract for CYGNSS Mission

NASA has selected Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va., to launch the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) mission. CYGNSS will launch in October 2016 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida aboard a Pegasus XL rocket from Orbital's "Stargazer" L-1011 aircraft.

This is a firm-fixed price launch-service task order contract worth approximately $55 million. Contract services include spacecraft processing, the launch service payload integration, tracking, data and telemetry and other launch support requirements.

“The launch vehicle selection is an important milestone that enables the CYGNSS team to continue with detailed satellite design and proceed to the Critical Design Review,” says Space Physics Research Laboratory (SPRL) Engineer Damen Provost, the university project manager for the CYGNSS mission.

CYGNSS will produce measurements of ocean surface winds throughout the life cycle of tropical storms and hurricanes, which could help lead to forecasting weather better. The mission, led by AOSS Professor and Principal Investigator Chris Ruf, will use a constellation of small satellites that will be carried to orbit on a single launch vehicle. CYGNSS's eight micro-satellite observatories will receive direct and reflected signals from GPS satellites.

CYGNSS is the first award for space-based investigations in the Earth Venture-class series of rapidly developed, cost-constrained projects for NASA's Earth Science Division. NASA's Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va., manages the Earth System Science Pathfinder program for NASA's Science Mission Directorate.

In addition to Provost and Ruf, the CYGNSS mission team is compromised of several members of the University of Michigan community, including AOSS professors Derek Posselt and Aaron Ridley as well as SPRL research engineer Bruce Block. File photo of a Pegasus launch.

Photo credit: NASA/KSC

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