Launch Week Begins for ICON

The Northrop Grumman L-1011 Stargazer aircraft is seen on 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.
The Northrop Grumman L-1011 Stargazer aircraft is seen on 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 will hold a Launch Readiness Review at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 9 a.m. EST Tuesday, Nov. 6, to ensure preparations are on track for launch of NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) satellite.

ICON 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., with a targeted release at 3:05 a.m. Ignition of the Pegasus XL rocket occurs five seconds after release from the Stargazer.

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

NASA to Hold Launch Readiness Review for ICON

ICON spacecraft artist renderingNASA and Northrop Grumman will hold a Launch Readiness Review early next week at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to ensure preparations are continuing on track for the launch of the agency’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, satellite.

ICON will be launched by Northrop Grumman’s Pegasus XL rocket which will be carried aloft by the L-1011 Stargazer aircraft taking off from the Skid Strip at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The ICON satellite mission is expected to launch no earlier than Wednesday, Nov. 7 with a 90-minute launch window opening at 3 a.m. EST. Release from the Stargazer is anticipated for 3:05 a.m. ICON is designed to study the dynamic zone high in the atmosphere where terrestrial weather from below meets space weather from above.

Follow the prelaunch coverage and the launch 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.

Learn more about NASA’s ICON mission at:
https://www.nasa.gov/icon

NASA, Northrop Grumman Continue Preparations 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

NASA and Northrop Grumman continue to prepare for the agency’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) launch and review data from Sunday’s flight test and post flight testing. Currently, there is availability on the Eastern Range from Nov. 3-8. A launch date will be determined once the data review is complete.

For a launch on Nov. 3, the 90-minute launch window would open at 4 a.m. EDT. Due to daylight saving time ending on Sunday, Nov. 4, the launch window would open at 3 a.m. EST from Nov. 4 – 8.

The spacecraft will launch aboard a Northrop Grumman Pegasus XL rocket carried aloft by the L-1011 Stargazer aircraft taking off from the Skid Strip at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

NASA, Northrop Grumman Reviewing Flight Test Data

Northrop Grumman's L-1011 Stargazer is being readied on Oct. 14, 2018, at the Vandenberg Air Force Base hot pad. The company's Pegasus XL rocket, containing NASA's Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, is attached beneath the aircraft. Photo credit: USAF 30th Space Wing/Tony Vaulcin
Northrop Grumman’s L-1011 Stargazer is being readied on Oct. 14, 2018, at the Vandenberg Air Force Base hot pad. The company’s Pegasus XL rocket, containing NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, is attached beneath the aircraft.
Photo credit: USAF 30th Space Wing/Tony Vaulcin

NASA and Northrop Grumman completed a test flight of the L-1011 Stargazer aircraft from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Sunday, Oct. 28. Carrying Pegasus and NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON), the 4-hour, 45-minute flight tested the aircraft’s systems prior to launch.

A new launch date for the ICON mission will be determined after the team finishes processing and reviewing the data.

ICON Prelaunch Flight Test Set for Oct. 27

NASA and Northrop Grumman will be conducting a flight of the L-1011 carrying Pegasus on Saturday, Oct. 27 to perform further prelaunch testing. Once the flight is completed, the team will review the test data and ensure readiness to proceed with remaining preparations for launch. This includes working with the Eastern Range to determine the new launch date. Currently, there is Range availability from Oct. 31 through Nov. 8.

NASA’s ICON Launch Delayed; New Launch Date to Come

NASA and Northrop Grumman have delayed the launch of the agency’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, to conduct further pre-launch testing on the rocket. Upon completion of the testing, a new launch date will be established.

The spacecraft is launching aboard a Northrop Grumman Pegasus XL rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) in Florida. The L-1011 Stargazer carrying the Pegasus rocket arrived at CCAFS last Friday and will remain in Florida to conduct the testing. The spacecraft remains in good health.

The pre-launch mission briefing originally scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 24, also has been postponed and will be rescheduled at a later date.

Photo Credit: NASA

Stargazer Aircraft Arrives with Pegasus XL, ICON Satellite

In Building 1555 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, preflight processing nears completion for a Northrup Grumman Pegasus XL rocket on Oct. 8, 2018. Enclosed in the rocket's payload fairing is NASA's Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, satellite.  Photo credit: NASA/Randy Beaudoin
In Building 1555 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, preflight processing nears completion for a Northrup Grumman Pegasus XL rocket on Oct. 8, 2018. Enclosed in the rocket’s payload fairing is NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, satellite.
Photo credit: NASA/Randy Beaudoin

The Northrup Grumman L-1011 Stargazer aircraft arrived Oct. 19, 2018 at the Skid Strip at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida following a cross-country trip from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Attached beneath the Stargazer is the company’s Pegasus XL rocket with NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, satellite on board.

ICON will study the ionosphere, where terrestrial weather meets space weather. This dynamic zone high in Earth’s atmosphere can be a source of great beauty such as the aurora, but can also be disruptive to radio communications and satellites and astronaut health. ICON will help determine the physical processes at play in this “frontier of space,” thus paving the way for mitigating their effects on our technology, communications systems and society.

ICON was processed and prepared for its mission at Vandenberg. The satellite is scheduled for its airborne launch aboard the Pegasus XL rocket after takeoff from the Skid Strip during a 90-minute launch window opening at 4:00 a.m. EDT on Oct. 26.

Payload Fairing Installed for ICON Mission

On Oct. 4, 2018, technicians at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, installed the payload fairing on the Northrop Grumman Pegasus XL rocket that will launch NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, satellite.

ICON is being prepared for launch on a Pegasus XL rocket which will be carried aloft by Northrop Grumman’s L-1011 Stargazer aircraft. The Stargazer with the Pegasus XL attached is scheduled to fly from Vandenberg, where it was processed, to the Skid Strip at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Oct. 19, 2018.

Launch of the Pegasus XL rocket is scheduled for Oct. 26, 2018. The Stargazer jet will take off from the Skid Strip at the Cape. About 50 miles offshore of Daytona Beach, Florida, the Pegasus XL will be dropped with the engine igniting five seconds later boosting ICON to orbit. The Stargazer is a mobile launch platform and the only one of its kind in the world.

ICON will study the ionosphere, where terrestrial weather meets space weather. This dynamic zone high in Earth’s atmosphere can be a source of great beauty such as the aurora, but can also be disruptive to radio communications and satellites and astronaut health. ICON will help determine the physical processes at play in this “frontier of space,” thus paving the way for mitigating their effects on our technology, communications systems and society.

Photo credit: NASA/Dan Quinajon

Click here to see the latest photos of the ICON spacecraft and Pegasus XL rocket as they are prepared for launch.

Managers Complete Flight Readiness Review for ICON Satellite

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

NASA and Northrop Grumman managers have completed the Flight Readiness Review ensuring preparations are on track for the launch of the agency’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, satellite. The meeting took place at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California where the spacecraft is being processed. ICON is scheduled to be launched Oct. 26, 2018, by a Northrop Grumman Pegasus XL rocket carried aloft by the company’s L-1011 Stargazer aircraft.

Recent checkouts of the ICON satellite have been completed and the payload fairing was installed with that process completed on Oct. 6. The Stargazer arrived at Vandenberg the day before. Plans call for the Pegasus XL rocket with ICON aboard to soon be attached to the aircraft for the flight to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

On launch day, the Stargazer will take off from the Cape’s Skid Strip runway with the Pegasus XL rocket to be launched over the Atlantic Ocean about 50 miles east of Daytona Beach, Florida. This L-1011 aircraft is a mobile launch platform and the only one of its kind in the world.

ICON is designed to study the frontier of space — the dynamic zone high in Earth’s atmosphere where terrestrial weather from below meets space weather above. The explorer will help determine the physics of Earth’s space environment and pave the way for mitigating its effects on our technology and communications systems.

Flight Readiness Review Underway for ICON Satellite

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

NASA and Northrop Grumman managers are holding a Flight Readiness Review to ensure preparations are continuing on track for the launch of the agency’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, satellite. The meeting is taking place at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California where the spacecraft is being processed. ICON is scheduled to be launched Oct. 26, 2018, by a Northrop Grumman Pegasus XL rocket carried aloft by the company’s L-1011 Stargazer aircraft.

Recent checkouts of the ICON satellite have been completed and the payload fairing was installed with that process completed on Oct. 6. The Stargazer arrived at Vandenberg the day before. Plans call for the Pegasus XL rocket with ICON aboard to soon be attached to the aircraft for the flight to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

On launch day, the Stargazer will take off from the Cape’s Skid Strip runway with the Pegasus XL rocket to be launched over the Atlantic Ocean about 50 miles east of Daytona Beach, Florida. This L-1011 aircraft is a mobile launch platform and the only one of its kind in the world.

ICON is designed to study the frontier of space — the dynamic zone high in Earth’s atmosphere where terrestrial weather from below meets space weather above. The explorer will help determine the physics of Earth’s space environment and pave the way for mitigating its effects on our technology and communications systems.