NASA launches fleet of satellite to help with hurricane intensity forecasts

Posted: 5:53 PM, Dec 15, 2016
Updated: 2016-12-15 17:53:51-05

NASA launched a group of satellites from the bottom of an airplane Thursday to help improve hurricane forecasts.

The plane, 'Stargazer,' took off from Cape Canaveral and carried a Pegasus rocket with the new satellites attached to about 40,000 feet before releasing them.

Boosters then propelled the rocket into space, then into orbit in about 15 minutes.

From there the rocket deployed eight small mini-satellites which are designed to provide better hurricane intensity predictions back on Earth.

The satellites will work in tandem to measure near-surface ocean winds in hurricanes, typhoons and other tropical cyclones.

The fleet of satellites is about the size of a carry-on suitcase and weigh only 60 pounds.

They reached their orbit over the tropics, and will be able to take measurements every 12 minutes, instead of sometimes up to several days.

The goal is to improve hurricane intensity forecasts, which haven't improved all that much over the years.