Soaring through the skies! This view looks from the window of our F-18 support aircraft during a 2016 Orbital ATK air-launch of its Pegasus rocket.
The CYGNSS mission, led by the University of Michigan, will use eight micro-satellite observatories to measure wind speeds over Earth’s oceans, increasing the ability of scientists to understand and predict hurricanes.
CYGNSS launched at 8:37 a.m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016 from our Kennedy Space Center in Florida. CYGNSS launched aboard an Orbital ATK Pegasus XL rocket, deployed from Orbital’s “Stargazer” L-1011 carrier aircraft.
Pegasus is a winged, three-stage solid propellant rocket that can launch a satellite into low Earth orbit. How does it work? Great question!
After takeoff, the aircraft (which looks like a commercial airplane..but with some special quirks) flies to about 39,000 feet over the ocean and releases the rocket.