16/12/2016 8:28 AM IST | Updated 16/12/2016 8:42 AM IST

NASA Launches 8 Satellites For The Study Of Hurricanes

NASA used Orbital's Pegasus XL to launch these satellites.

Mikhail Japaridze/TASS

WASHINGTON -- US space agency NASA launched a constellation of eight small satellites on Thursday designed to aid weather forecasters in understanding and predicting hurricane intensity.

The eight observatories comprising the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) were delivered to a low-Earth orbit by the US aerospace firm Orbital ATK's Pegasus XL rocket at 8.37 a.m. (local time), Xinhua news agency reported.

The rocket and its micro-satellite payload were air-launched from Orbital ATK's modified L-1011 aircraft, nicknamed Stargazer, which first flew to about 39,000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean and then released the rocket.

NASA said the $157 million CYGNSS mission will team up with the Global Positioning System (GPS) constellation to measure ocean surface winds in and near the eye of the storm throughout the life cycle of hurricanes.