ICON Launch Now Targeted for Oct. 9

The Northrop Grumman L-1011 Stargazer aircraft lands on Oct. 19, 2018 at the Skid Strip at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. A Pegasus XL rocket is attached to the underside of the aircraft with NASA's Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, satellite. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett
The Northrop Grumman L-1011 Stargazer aircraft lands on Oct. 19, 2018 at the Skid Strip at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. A Pegasus XL rocket is attached to the underside of the aircraft with NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, satellite.
Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

NASA and Northrop Grumman coordinated with the U.S. Air Force Eastern Range for an earlier launch date for the agency’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, spacecraft from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. ICON is now targeted for launch on Oct. 9, 2019, aboard a Northrop Grumman Pegasus XL rocket carried by the company’s L-1011 Stargazer aircraft.

ICON Launch Targeted for Oct. 10

Technicians extend the solar array on NASA's Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) during a deployment test inside Building 1555 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Aug. 10, 2019.
Technicians extend the solar array on NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) during a deployment test inside Building 1555 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Aug. 10, 2019. Photo credit: NASA/Randy Beaudoin

NASA and Northrop Grumman currently are preparing the agency’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, spacecraft and the Pegasus XL rocket at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California for ferry to the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida by the L-1011 Stargazer aircraft on Oct. 1, 2019.

The launch has been rescheduled to Oct. 10, 2019, following the completion of a joint NASA/Northrop Grumman investigation into a Pegasus sensor reading that was not within normal limits during previous ferry and launch attempt flights. The cause of the issue is understood, and the flight hardware has been modified to address the issue.

Two L-1011 flights with Pegasus were conducted to verify the effectiveness of the modification with no issues. Functional tests are being performed on NASA’s ICON spacecraft, which utilizes Northrop Grumman’s LEOStar-2 platform, to ensure that the ICON spacecraft is ready for the upcoming integration activity, ferry flight and launch. As always, mission success for Pegasus and ICON is the top priority.

NASA’s ICON Analysis Underway at Vandenberg AFB

This illustration depicts NASA's Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, satellite that will study the frontier of space: the dynamic zone high in our atmosphere where terrestrial weather from below meets space weather from above. Photo credit: NASA
This illustration depicts NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, satellite that will study the frontier of space: the dynamic zone high in our atmosphere where terrestrial weather from below meets space weather from above.
Photo credit: NASA

On Monday, Nov. 19, Northrop Grumman flew the L-1011 Stargazer and Pegasus XL rocket carrying NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, spacecraft back to Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. On Nov. 20, Northrop Grumman completed the de-mate of Pegasus from the L-1011 and transported the rocket safely into the integration facility.

The Northrop Grumman/NASA team continues its investigation into the off-nominal data observed during the Nov. 7 launch attempt. Once the analysis is complete, a new launch date will be determined. ICON will launch out of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The ICON spacecraft, which uses Northrop Grumman’s LEOStar-2 platform, is monitored at all times and remains healthy.

ICON to Return to Vandenberg AFB for Further Analysis

This illustration depicts NASA's Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, satellite that will study the frontier of space: the dynamic zone high in our atmosphere where terrestrial weather from below meets space weather from above. Photo credit: NASA
This illustration depicts NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, satellite that will study the frontier of space: the dynamic zone high in our atmosphere where terrestrial weather from below meets space weather from above.
Photo credit: NASA

NASA and Northrop Grumman have made the decision to fly the L-1011 Stargazer and Pegasus XL rocket carrying NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, spacecraft back to its integration facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The ferry flight will take place early next week. Returning to the environmentally-controlled integration facility allows the team to further investigate off-nominal data observed during the Nov. 7 launch attempt.

Once the investigation is complete, a new launch date will be determined. ICON will launch out of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The ICON spacecraft, which uses Northrop Grumman’s LEOStar-2 platform, is monitored at all times and remains healthy.

ICON Launch Update

This illustration depicts NASA's Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, satellite that will study the frontier of space: the dynamic zone high in our atmosphere where terrestrial weather from below meets space weather from above. Photo credit: NASA
This illustration depicts NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, satellite that will study the frontier of space: the dynamic zone high in our atmosphere where terrestrial weather from below meets space weather from above.
Photo credit: NASA

NASA and Northrop Grumman are continuing to investigate the off-nominal data observed during the Pegasus XL rocket’s Nov. 7 launch attempt for the agency’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, mission. The next launch attempt will be evaluated once the investigation is complete. The ICON spacecraft remains healthy.

For updates, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/icon

ICON Launch Update

This illustration depicts NASA's Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, satellite that will study the frontier of space: the dynamic zone high in our atmosphere where terrestrial weather from below meets space weather from above. Photo credit: NASA
This illustration depicts NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, satellite that will study the frontier of space: the dynamic zone high in our atmosphere where terrestrial weather from below meets space weather from above.
Photo credit: NASA

NASA and Northrop Grumman have postponed the Nov. 7 launch attempt of NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, mission due to off-nominal data observed on the Pegasus XL rocket, during the captive carry flight. The L-1011 Stargazer carrier aircraft returned to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and the team will begin an investigation into the issue. The ICON spacecraft remains healthy. The team is evaluating the next launch attempt.

For updates, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/icon

Stargazer Aircraft Airborne with Pegasus XL, ICON Satellite

Northrop Grumman's L-1011 Stargazer is airborne with the company's Pegasus XL rocket, containing NASA's Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, attached beneath the aircraft. Photo credit: USAF 30th Space Wing/Rod Speed
Northrop Grumman’s L-1011 Stargazer is airborne with the company’s Pegasus XL rocket, containing NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, attached beneath the aircraft.
Photo credit: USAF 30th Space Wing/Rod Speed

The Northrop Grumman L-1011 Stargazer aircraft carrying a Pegasus XL Rocket with NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, satellite is airborne after taking off from the Skid Strip runway at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Northrop Grumman produces the Pegasus XL, a small expendable rocket that attaches beneath the Stargazer aircraft and is carried to 39,000 feet to be released for launch. It is the only airborne-launched rocket.

Northrop Grumman's Pegasus XL rocket, containing NASA's Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, is transported to the hot pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base on Oct. 14, 2018. Pegasus will be attached beneath the company's L-1011 Stargazer aircraft for the trip to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The Pegasus XL rocket will launch ICON from the Skid Strip at the Cape. Photo credit: USAF 30th Space Wing/Tony Vaulcin
Northrop Grumman’s Pegasus XL rocket, containing NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, is transported to the hot pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base on Oct. 14, 2018. Pegasus will be attached beneath the company’s L-1011 Stargazer aircraft for the trip to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The Pegasus XL rocket will launch ICON from the Skid Strip at the Cape.
Photo credit: USAF 30th Space Wing/Tony Vaulcin

The Pegasus XL can carry a payload up to 992 pounds to low-Earth orbit. The rocket weighs about 51,000 pounds and measures 55.4 feet in length and 50 inches in diameter. Pegasus has a wing span of 22 feet

With the Stargazer aircraft flying over the Atlantic Ocean about 50 miles offshore from Daytona Beach Florida, the Pegasus rocket will be released. Five seconds later, the solid propellant engine will ignite and boost the ICON satellite to orbit.

Did you know!

The L-1011 Stargazer is a mobile launch platform and the only one of its kind in the world.

The 90-minute launch window opens at 3 a.m. EST, with a targeted release at 3:05 a.m. EST about 50 miles east of Daytona Beach, Florida. Ignition of the Pegasus XL rocket occurs five seconds after release from the Stargazer.

Pegasus XL Rocket Set to Launch ICON Spacecraft

The Northrop Grumman L-1011 Stargazer aircraft lands on Oct. 19, 2018 at the Skid Strip at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. A Pegasus XL rocket is attached to the underside of the aircraft with NASA's Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, satellite. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett
The Northrop Grumman L-1011 Stargazer aircraft lands on Oct. 19, 2018 at the Skid Strip at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. A Pegasus XL rocket is attached to the underside of the aircraft with NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, satellite.
Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

Good morning from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Today we are be following preparations for the launch of a NASA spacecraft taking place over the Atlantic Ocean offshore about 50 miles from Daytona Beach in Florida. The Northrop Grumman L-1011 Stargazer aircraft is already airborne, having taken off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force

Station’s Skid Strip runway. It is carrying a Pegasus XL Rocket with NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, satellite.

At Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, technicians install the starboard fin on the Northrop Grumman Pegasus XL rocket July 8, 2017. The Pegasus rocket is being prepared to launch NASA's Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, mission. Photo credit: Randy Beaudoin
At Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, technicians install the starboard fin on the Northrop Grumman Pegasus XL rocket July 8, 2017. The Pegasus rocket is being prepared to launch NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, mission.
Photo credit: Randy Beaudoin

The 90-minute launch window opens at 3 a.m. EST, with a targeted release at 3:05 a.m. EST about 50 miles east of Daytona Beach, Florida. Ignition of the Pegasus XL rocket occurs five seconds after release from the Stargazer.

Launch management and government oversight for the mission is the responsibility of NASA’s Launch Services Program here at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

The official weather forecast calls for a 80 percent chance for favorable conditions for launch. The primary launch weather concerns are cumulous clouds.

This launch blog originates from the NASA News Center here on Florida’s Space Coast at the agency’s premier multi-user spaceport.

There’s more to come, so stay with us.

Launch Day Arrives for ICON

Northrop Grumman's L-1011 Stargazer aircraft is on the runway after touching down at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Skid Strip on Oct. 19, 2018. The company's Pegasus XL rocket, containing NASA's Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, satellite is attached beneath the aircraft. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett
Northrop Grumman’s L-1011 Stargazer aircraft is on the runway after touching down at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Skid Strip on Oct. 19, 2018. The company’s Pegasus XL rocket, containing NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, satellite is attached beneath the aircraft.
Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

The Northrop Grumman L-1011 Stargazer aircraft is poised to take off from the Skid Strip runway at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. It carry a Pegasus XL Rocket with NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, satellite. It is designed to study the dynamic zone high in our atmosphere where terrestrial weather from below meets space weather from above.

The 90-minute launch window opens at 3 a.m. EST, with a targeted release at 3:05 a.m. Ignition of the Pegasus XL rocket occurs five seconds after release from the Stargazer.

The official weather forecast calls for a 90 percent chance for favorable conditions for launch. The primary launch weather concerns are cumulous clouds.

Be sure to join us here at 2:30 a.m. EDT to follow this live blog-cast during the last stages of the countdown and early portions of flight.

Beginning at 2:45 a.m. EST, you also may watch the countdown on NASA Television for updates at:

https://www.nasa.gov/nasalive.

Learn more about NASA’s ICON mission at:

https://www.nasa.gov/icon

Launch Readiness Review Completed for ICON

The Northrop Grumman L-1011 Stargazer aircraft lands on Oct. 19, 2018 at the Skid Strip at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. A Pegasus XL rocket is attached to the underside of the aircraft with NASA's Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, satellite. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett
The Northrop Grumman L-1011 Stargazer aircraft lands on Oct. 19, 2018 at the Skid Strip at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. A Pegasus XL rocket is attached to the underside of the aircraft with NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, satellite.
Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

NASA and Northrop Grumman completed their Launch Readiness Review on Tuesday, Nov. 6, at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. There are no technical issues being worked at this time. NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, satellite mission is scheduled to launch Wednesday, Nov. 7, by Northrop Grumman’s Pegasus XL rocket, which will be carried aloft by the company’s L-1011 Stargazer aircraft taking off from the Skid Strip at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The 90-minute launch window opens at 3 a.m. EST, with a targeted release at 3:05 a.m. Ignition of the Pegasus XL rocket occurs five seconds after release from the Stargazer.

The official weather forecast calls for a 90 percent chance for favorable conditions for launch. The primary launch weather concerns are cumulous clouds.

ICON is designed to study the dynamic zone high in the atmosphere where terrestrial weather from below meets space weather from above.

Follow the launch coverage on NASA Television at:

https://www.nasa.gov/live

Tuesday, Nov. 6
3 p.m. – NASA EDGE webcast from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station will discuss ICON spacecraft operations, science and engineering, as well as launch processing of the Northrop Grumman L-1011 Stargazer with the Pegasus rocket.

Wednesday, Nov. 7
2:45 a.m. – Launch coverage begins at 2:45 a.m. EST

Learn more about NASA’s ICON mission at:

https://www.nasa.gov/icon