Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan

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Prof. Ruf publishes new paper on CYGNSS mission in Scientific Reports

Posted: June 8, 2018

Prof. Ruf publishes new paper on CYGNSS mission in Scientific Reports

CYGNSS mission Principal Investigator Professor Chris Ruf has published a new paper in Scientific Reports in which he and members of the science team discuss the accomplishments of the mission to date, as well new applications for the data collected by the satellite constellation. 

From the paper: 

"A constellation of small, low-cost satellites is able to make scientifically valuable measurements of the Earth which can be used for weather forecasting, disaster monitoring, and climate studies. Eight CYGNSS satellites were launched into low Earth orbit on December 15, 2016. Each satellite carries a science radar receiver which measures GPS signals reflected from the Earth surface. The signals contain information about the surface, including wind speed over ocean, and soil moisture and flooding over land. The satellites are distributed around their orbit plane so that measurements can be made more often to capture extreme weather events. Innovative engineering approaches are used to reduce per satellite cost, increase the number in the constellation, and improve temporal sampling. These include the use of differential drag rather than propulsion to adjust the spacing between satellites and the use of existing GPS signals as the science radars’ transmitter. Initial on-orbit results demonstrate the scientific utility of the CYGNSS observations, and suggest that a new paradigm in spaceborne Earth environmental monitoring is possible."

Read the full paper: A New Paradigm in Earth Environmental Monitoring with the CYGNSS Small Satellite Constellation.


Prof. Ruf has also discusses the paper and the the mission updates in a new post on the NASA Earth Observatory blog. Here's an excerpt from the piece: 

"The mission has demonstrated that smaller, more cost-efficient satellites are able to make important contributions to the advancement of science. In the months and years ahead, CYGNSS will hopefully be able to demonstrate that those advances can lead to practical scientific applications, such as extreme weather monitoring and prediction, that will benefit humankind."

Read the full post: CYGNSS Accomplishments and New Applications