MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — Hoping to get a better understanding of why some hurricanes grow into monster storms while others just fade away, federal scientists are launching drones to fly into Hurricane Edouard to see what makes it tick.

This marks the first time that unmanned aircraft have been dispatched from “hurricane hunter” planes flying through Atlantic tropical storms.

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Scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say the 3-foot, 7-pound drones are designed to spend hours slowly descending through storms, particularly in the lowest parts of a hurricane where the planes can’t fly.

NOAA got a handful of the drones this year to test during the peak of hurricane season, thanks to post-Hurricane Sandy federal funding.

Edouard is the first major hurricane of the six-month Atlantic storm season, but it remained no threat to land Tuesday.

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Hurricane Edouard  is the fifth named tropical system of the current Atlantic hurricane season and the fourth hurricane.

The last time that name was used was in 2008, when Tropical Storm Edouard came ashore in Texas. The storm was blamed for one death and minor coastal flooding.

(Source: CBS)

(Source: CBS)

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