NASA Lost Communication With Hurricane-Tracking Satellite – CYGNSS

Reported By Poornima Rawat / Technical Correspondent THE GPS TIME

NASA Lost Communication With Hurricane-Tracking Satellite CYGNSS since 26 November around 4:32 p.m. EST (2132 GMT)

NASA’s Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) team had not been able to make any communication with FM06, one of the eight CYGNSS spacecraft, since 26 November 2022. According to a NASA statement, the team last received data from the designated FM06 satellite on 26 November around 4:32 p.m. EST (2132 GMT). The team of CYGNSS is still currently working to acquire a signal from the satellite and establish a connection.

The remaining seven satellites comprising the CYGNSS constellation continued to operate normally and have been collecting the scientific data since FM06 went out of communication last month. Though the remaining seven satellites can continue to work without FM06 satellite, but still if the team of CYGNSS could not reconnect with the spacecraft, then the spatial coverage of CYGNSS will be reduced, which until November provided nearly gap-free coverage of Earth. 

NASA’s Hurricane-Tracking Satellite CYGNSS

NASA’s Hurricane-Tracking Satellite, Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) is a constellation of eight small satellites that track the hurricanes and typhoons. It is the first space-based system to collect frequent  space‐based measurements of speed of the wind from the ocean’s surface near the inner core of storms such as cyclones, typhoons and hurricanes.

Designed by the Southwest Research Institute in Colorado and the University of Michigan, CYGNSS was successfully launched on December 15, 2016 and completed its primary science objectives in March 2019. Made up of a constellation of eight micro-satellites, it was designed to develop a better understanding of the interaction between the sea and the air near the eye of a storm.

Unique features of CYGNSS ( Hurricane-Tracking Satellite )

It is the first mission of NASA to conduct Earth’s surface remote sensing using an existing GNSS systems.

Capable of measuring the wind field of ocean surface with remarkable spatial coverage and temporal resolution under all precipitating conditions and dynamic range of wind speeds in tropical cyclone.

CYGNSS exclusively opted to use the United States’ GPS (Global Positioning System) constellation.

Spacecraft of CYGNSS act as passive sensors and receive signals from GPS pulses reflected by the Earth’ surfaces.

As GPS signals operate at low microwave frequencies, the CYGNSS measure the speed of winds within the inner core of storms.