A planned launch by NASA of CYGNSS didn't go as planned at all, resulting in a major headache for the agency.
NASA had to abort a major launch after discovery a significan tglitch in the hardware, as well as problems with the weather. The agency had planned to launch the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS), a constellation of eight satellites that would help with hurricane forecasting, on Monday, but NASA is now shooting for Wednesday morning.
CYGNSS will be air-launched with the Orbital ATK Pegasus XK rocket. The launch was aborted because the hydraulic pump used to release the rocket ran into a glitch. NASA did everything they could to make sure the rocket was functional again, and everything should be a go for a Wednesday launch.
CYGNSS will help scientists do better prediction of intense weather, using eight small satellites that will help examine the relationship between atmosphere dynamics, as well as properties of the ocean surface, to understand the formation of tropical cyclones.
“Monday’s launch was aborted due to an issue with the launch vehicle release system on the L-1011 Stargazer,” a NASA statement reads. “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.
“Hurricane track forecasts have improved in accuracy by about 50 percent since 1990, but in that same period there has been essentially no improvement in the accuracy of intensity forecasts. NASA has funded a new mission using a constellation of eight small satellites carried to low-Earth orbit on a single launch vehicle to make accurate measurements of ocean surface winds in and near the eye of the storm throughout the lifecycle of tropical cyclones, typhoons and hurricanes.”