The strengths of constellation missions when exploring our atmosphere

Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 12:08 PM
Aaron J Ridley1, Christopher S Ruf2, Derek J Posselt3, Randy Rose4 and Damen Provost3, (1)University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, United States, (2)University of Michigan Ann Arbor, AOSS, Ann Arbor, MI, United States, (3)University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, MI, United States, (4)Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX, United States
A few constellation mission have been flow by NASA, ESA, DoD and different companies. While some of these missions are with large satellites, such as ESA's Cluster mission, others are with smaller satellites, such as NASA's Themis mission. CubeSats and MicroSats are obviously smaller than monolithic satellites, and are therefore much more constrained in mass, power, volume and data throughput. They are also cheaper and can be launched in constellations or as secondary payloads. Constellations can provide measurements over larger areas and better sampling in time than single satellites in low Earth orbit, which is one of their main advantages. In this presentation, we focus on the CYGNSS constellation mission, which will measure the winds over the ocean. We show how the the mission will be deployed, the constellation measurement strategy, coverage statistics, and repeat times. We will also discuss other constellation missions that have flown or are being planned.