NASA launches fleet of hurricane research satellites from an airplane
Eight small satellites, designed to improve hurricane forecasts by detecting the wind speeds within storms, blasted off on Thursday aboard an air-launched Pegasus rocket, a NASA TV broadcast showed. From a vantage point 317 miles above Earth, the satellites will use radio signals from the Global Positioning System network to measure wind speeds as storms churn over the ocean.
Current weather satellites cannot penetrate heavy rain to measure the winds inside a hurricane’s core. This leaves forecasters relying on instruments aboard specialized aircraft, known as Hurricane Hunters, to detect wind speed, which is key for determining the intensity of a storm.
Also published on Medium.