ICESat-2 Spacecraft Healthy after Successful Launch on Delta II

The United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta II rocket is seen as it launches with the NASA Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) onboard, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018, Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The ICESat-2 mission will measure the changing height of Earth’s ice. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

NASA’s ICESat-2 spacecraft deployed its four solar panels and is drawing power, indicating it is healthy upon its arrival in orbit. The spacecraft launched on the final flight of the United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket, lifting off from Space Launch Complex-2 at California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base at 6:02 a.m. PDT (9:02 a.m. EDT).

Ground stations in Svalbard, Norway, have acquired signals from the spacecraft. It is performing as expected and orbiting the globe, pole to pole, at 17,069 mph from an average altitude of 290 miles.