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


CYGNSS Mission Completes Critical Design Review

Posted: February 6, 2015

CYGNSS Mission Completes Critical Design Review

The Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) mission, led by the University of Michigan, reached a major milestone this January when it successfully completed NASA’s Critical Design Review (CDR).

The CDR certifies that the CYGNSS design is ready to support proceeding with full-scale fabrication, assembly, integration, and test of the mission elements.

CYGNSS is a constellation of eight small satellites that will be carried to low-Earth orbit on a single launch vehicle. The satellites aim to improve weather forecasting by making accurate measurements of ocean surface winds in and near the eye of the storm throughout the full life cycle of tropical cyclones, typhoons and hurricanes. These measurements will advance forecasting methods by providing data that can lead to reliable predictions of hurricane intensity.

To successfully complete the CDR, the CYGNSS team had to ensure that the production processes and controls were sufficient to proceed to the fabrication stage and verify that the final design fulfills the specifications established at PDR.

“CDR is the last in a series of formal design reviews for CYGNSS,” U-M Project Manager Damen Provost says. “From here, the emphasis of the project shifts to building and testing our eight satellites. Space Physics Research Laboratory engineers have also begun development of the CYGNSS Science Operations Center, where data from all our satellites will be processed and made available to the scientific community.”

In addition to Provost, the CYGNSS mission team is compromised of several members of the University of Michigan community, including atmospheric, oceanic and space sciences professors Chris Ruf (PI), Derek Posselt and Aaron Ridley as well as space physics research laboratory (SPRL) staff members Bruce Block, Linda Chadwick, Steve Musko, Jon Van Noord and Timothy Butler.

The mission is scheduled to launch in October 2016, which will give the team plenty of time to prepare for science operations during the 2017 hurricane season.

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