NASA-Provided Pegasus Delivered CYGNSS to Orbit

The NASA-provided launch vehicle, Orbital-ATK (OA) Pegasus XL, placed the integrated constellation and Deployment Module into our orbit of 510 km circular, 35° inclination where it deployed the Observatories in opposite pairs to balance forces imparted on the launch vehicle control system. After the Launch Vehicle upper stage reached the orbit injection point, separation events were spaced roughly 30 seconds apart to prevent local collisions. The launch vehicle oriented the integrated DM-Observatory stack such that the first Observatory pair was deployed 20° cross-track.

The Pegasus-XL components were assembled at OA's Chandler AZ facility then freighted to Vandenberg Airforce Base where OA has an integration facility. This is also where the CYGNSS payload was integrated with the Launch Vehicle. The Pegasus-XL with CYGNSS then performed a Ferry-Flight across the United States to CCAFS in Florida for final launch preparations and launch from the Eastern Range. The Pegasus-XL was airlifted to approximately 50,000 ft along the launch path by OAs L-1011 Stargazer© carrier aircraft. Once in the launch target "box", Pegasus-XL was dropped from the L-1011 and glided for 5 seconds prior to igniting its solid rocket motors.



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