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NASA’s Cyclone Satellite Wins AIAA Mission Award

Photonics.com
Aug 2017
SAN ANTONIO, Sept. 7, 2017 — NASA's Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) has won the "Mission of the Year" award at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) 2017 Small Satellite Conference.

CYGNSS, a constellation of eight microsatellite spacecraft built and operated by Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), was launched into low-inclination, low-Earth orbit over the tropics in December 2016.

The award is presented annually to a mission that has demonstrated a significant improvement in the capability of small satellites. More than 1200 small satellite enthusiasts voted for this year's 10 small satellite nominees, which were selected by the experts on the AIAA SmallSat technical committee.

"It is very rewarding that we were selected by such a large number of peers and colleagues in the smallsat community," said Randy Rose at SwRI, who accepted the award on behalf of the CYGNSS team and its principal investigator, Christopher Ruf. "I think we'll be seeing a paradigm shift toward more small satellite science constellations like CYGNSS in the future."

CYGNSS makes frequent measurements of ocean surface winds to monitor the location, intensity, size and development of tropical cyclones, particularly how they intensify. In recent decades, forecasters have greatly improved models that predict the path of hurricanes, but the ability to predict a storm's rapidly changing intensity has lagged. CYGNSS will provide the data necessary to enable significant improvement of this key piece of the puzzle.

"NASA recently selected SwRI to further develop the concept for another small satellite mission based on the CYGNSS platform to study the Sun's outer corona," said John Scherrer at SwRI, who led satellite development , fabrication and testing.

The AIAA Small Satellite Mission of the Year Award is presented annually to a mission that has demonstrated a significant improvement in the capability of small satellites. Eligible missions will have launched, established communication and acquired results from on-orbit since January 1, 2016 and have a wet mass of <150 kg. The AIAA is a professional society for the field of aerospace engineering.

BusinessaerospaceNASACyclone Global Navigation Satellite SystemCYGNSSAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and AstronauticsAIAASmall Satellite ConferenceawardsmeasurementAmericas

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