CYGNSS Mission

CYGNSS launch and early orbit ops.

Discovery Canada put together this nice overview of the CYGNSS mission launch and early on-obit operations for their Mighty Planes series.

GRAPHIC: The CYGNSS mission team is comprised of scientists from the University of Michigan, Southwest Research Institute, Surrey Satellite Technology, U.S., L.L.C.

Latest News

June 28, 2019

A new article has been published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society detailing CYGNSS performance against its Level 1 Mission Science Requirements.  "In-Orbit Performance of the Constellation of CYGNSS Hurricane Satellites" presents current best estimates of CYGNSS ocean surface wind speed measurements with respect to uncertainty, dynamic range, spatial resolution, spatial and temporal sampling, and data latency.

The paper is authored by Prof. Chris Ruf, CLaSP research scientist Darren McKague, CLaSP graduate student Rajeswari Balasubramaniam and SPRL engineer Dorina Twigg at the University of Michigan, together with Shakeel Asharaf  (UCLA/NASA JPL), Scott Gleason  (UCAR), Timothy Lang (NASA MSFC), and Duane Waliser (NASA JPL). The paper is available here:


NASA’s Weather Prediction Project

The Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) aims to improve extreme weather prediction.

CYGNSS will use a constellation of eight small satellites carried to orbit on a single launch vehicle. In orbit, CYGNSS’s eight micro-satellite observatories will receive both direct and reflected signals from Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites. The direct signals pinpoint CYGNSS observatory positions, while the reflected signals respond to ocean surface roughness, from which wind speed is retrieved.

The mission will study the relationship between ocean surface properties, moist atmospheric thermodynamics, radiation and convective dynamics to determine how a tropical cyclone forms and whether or not it will strengthen, and if so by how much. This will advance forecasting and tracking methods.

CYGNSS data will enable scientists, for the first time, to probe key air-sea interaction processes that take place near the inner core of the storms, which are rapidly changing and play large roles in the genesis and intensification of hurricanes.

The CYGNSS mission launched on December 15, 2016!

CYGNSS mission is comprised of 8 Low Earth Orbiting (LEO) spacecraft (S/C) that receive both direct and reflected signals from GPS satellites The CYGNSS mission is comprised of 8 Low Earth Orbiting (LEO) spacecraft (S/C) that receive both direct and reflected signals from GPS satellites.

CYGNSS is part of the
NASA Earth System Science Pathfinder program.

NASA Ames Research Center
University of Michigan
Southwest Research Institute of Texas
Surrey Satellite Technology of Colorado