Science-LiveI am NASA Launch Director Tim Dunn, and we're launching the CYGNSS spacecraft into space from the underbelly of an airplane on Dec 12th. AMA!
Dec 7th 2016 by NASAKennedy • 10 Questions • 144 Points
My short bio: Hi Reddit! I'm NASA Launch Director Tim Dunn, and we're launching the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) spacecraft into Space on December 12th at 8:24am EST.
CYGNSS will use a constellation of eight small satellites to vastly improve extreme weather prediction, particularly in hurricanes. The launch itself begins with the drop of the Pegasus rocket carrying the CYGNSS spacecraft –that’s where I come in! But this rocket won't launch vertically like a normal rocket...It will launch horizontally from underneath the belly of an L-1011 aircraft out over the Atlantic Ocean!
Here are a few photos of the aircraft and rocket carrying the spacecraft:
I'll be live here to answer your questions beginning at 2:00pm EST today. AMA!
That's all the AMA we have time for today! Great [email protected] session, everyone. I got some really good questions! Remember to watch the launch of the Pegasus rocket carrying the CYGNSS Spacecraft on December 12th at 8:24am EST live on NASA TV @ www.nasa.gov/ntv, and lookout for more AMA's from Kennedy Space Center in the future!
What are the benefits from launching this way? Fuel savings? The ability to potentially launch from anywhere?
What are the drawbacks?
Have you ever played Kerbal Space Program?
The Pegasus vehicle is very flexible in launching small spacecraft to a variety of orbits. We chose it because of the perfect match with spacecraft size and weight. Only Pegasus limitation is that it can't launch spacecraft heavier than about 500 kg. Never played KSP. Gotta try it!
Hey Tim! Thanks for doing the AMA.
What determined CYGNSS using eight micro-satellites as opposed to...fewer or more than eight?
How long will it take to deploy CYGNSS once the Pegasus rocket drops from the carrier plane?
One major influence that led you to your current field?
Thanks a bunch and best wishes on the launch. My birthday is the 12th so I'll consider the CYGNSS launch my birthday candle. Cheers!
Happy early Birthday! NASA Launch Services Program and Orbital ATK hope to light your biggest candle on 12 December! CYGNSS can operate effectively using only 6 satellites. So 8 was chosen to give both better coverage and a bit of margin should we experience a problem with one or two of the microsatellites.The last pair of satellites will deploy from Pegasus at 14 minutes 34 seconds after drop from the L-1011 aircraft. Major influence: Captain Kirk - a was a real Star Trek nerd growing up.