Ignition and liftoff! NASA’s ICESat-2 spacecraft is on its way into orbit to embark on a three-year mission to measure the changing height of Earth’s ice. The United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket is making its final climb into space after an early morning launch from Space Launch Complex-2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
The rocket’s four solid rocket boosters will be jettisoned one minute, 22 seconds into the flight. Main engine cutoff follows about three minutes later, then separation of the first and second stages. This separation clears the way for the second stage engine to ignite at 4 minutes, 37 seconds into the flight.