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.
NASA’s Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2, or ICESat-2, a mission to measure the changing height of Earth’s ice, is scheduled to launch Saturday, Sept. 15, with a 40-minute window opening at 5:46 a.m. PDT (8:46 a.m. EDT). The spacecraft will lift off from Space Launch Complex 2 (SLC-2) at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on the final launch of a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket. The U.S. Air Force 30th Space Wing weather officer reported they are predicting a 100 percent chance of favorable weather on launch day.
Be sure to follow along during the live coverage events below.
NASA’s Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2, or ICESat-2, is being prepared for liftoff Saturday aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket from Space Launch Complex-2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The launch window opens at 8:46 a.m. EDT (5:46 a.m. PDT).
NASA will host a prelaunch mission briefing today at 4 p.m. EDT (1 p.m. PDT). The briefing will be broadcast on NASA TV. Scheduled participants are:
Tom Wagner, ICESat-2 program scientist at NASA Headquarters
Doug McLennan, ICESat-2 project manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
Cathy Richardson, Deputy Program Manager, Earth Science Projects Division, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Tom Neumann, ICESat-2 deputy project scientist at Goddard
Lori Magruder, ICESat-2 science definition team lead at the University of Texas at Austin
Helen Fricker, ICESat-2 science definition team member at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Bill Barnhart, ICESat-2 program manager at Northrop Grumman
Tim Dunn, launch director at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center
Scott Messer, program manager for NASA Programs at United Launch Alliance
1st Lt. Daniel Smith, launch weather officer with the 30th Space Wing at Vandenberg
Media and the public may ask questions during the briefing using #askNASA.
NASA’s Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2, or ICESat-2, is scheduled to launch Saturday, Sept. 15, at 5:46 a.m. PDT (8:46 a.m. EDT). There is a 40-minute launch opportunity within the spacecraft launch window, which extends for 2 hours, 34 minutes. The 40-minute window is determined by super-cold liquid oxygen temperature (cryogenic propellant) effects on the Delta II rocket. The team is targeting the earliest opportunity within the spacecraft window, which could shift based on launch operations.
NASA and United Launch Alliance launch and mission partners are gathered at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California for the final week of final prelaunch activities for the agency’s Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2, or ICESat-2. The three-year mission is scheduled to launch at 8:46 a.m. EDT (5:46 a.m. PDT) on Saturday, Sept. 15, with liftoff aboard a ULA Delta II rocket from Space Launch Complex-2 (SLC-2).
Launch of the ICESat-2 spacecraft also will mark the final flight of the Delta II, which has served as a workhorse for NASA, the U.S. military and other customers since its 1989 debut.
Several significant prelaunch milestones are complete. The ICESat-2 spacecraft has been transported from the Astrotech payload processing facility to SLC-2, where it has since been lifted, mated atop the rocket, and encapsulated inside the payload fairing that will protect it during the first minutes of flight.
Tune in Thursday for the prelaunch briefing at 4 p.m. EDT (1 p.m. PDT) on NASA TV, and be sure to follow NASA’s Launch Blog or NASA TV for countdown coverage beginning Saturday at 8:10 a.m. EDT (5:10 a.m. PDT).
NASA and Northrop Grumman are now targeting Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018, for the launch of the agency’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON. The spacecraft will launch aboard a Northrop Grumman Pegasus XL rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The launch window is 90 minutes starting at 4:00 a.m. EDT and ICON will be launching off the coast of Daytona at 39,000 ft. at a heading of 105.0 degrees. The June launch was postponed after off-nominal data was detected during the ferry flight of Pegasus. The root cause was traced to a faulty sensor, which has been replaced.
The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket carrying NASA’s Parker Solar Probe lifted off at 3:31 a.m. EDT on Sunday, Aug. 12, from Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
Parker Solar Probe will be the first-ever mission to “touch” the Sun. The spacecraft, about the size of a small car, will travel directly into the Sun’s atmosphere, called the corona, about 4 million miles from our star’s surface.
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center celebrated National Intern Day on Thursday, July 26, by highlighting various interns around the center. Throughout the day, the interns posted photos and videos on their Instagram story as part of their intern social media takeover. NASA interns at every center watched the agency’s administrator, Jim Bridenstine, as he spoke with interns at Goddard Spaceflight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Now in its preliminary orbit, the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft will begin its three-day pursuit of the International Space Station. It’s scheduled to arrive Monday, July 2. NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold will be the prime operator of the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm; he will be backed up by NASA astronaut Drew Feustel. Meanwhile, NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor will keep watch over the spacecraft’s systems. Dragon will be installed on the station’s Harmony module.
SpaceX’s 15th cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station is slated to begin before dawn Friday. Liftoff of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft is scheduled for at 5:42 a.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The Dragon is packed with more than 5,900 pounds of science and research, crew supplies and vehicle hardware.
The launch forecast predicts a 90 percent chance of favorable weather, according to meteorologists with the U.S. Air Force’s 45th Space Wing.