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 XL 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.

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.

Energy Awareness Month Event Focuses on Ocean Renewables

Guest speaker Gabriel Alsenas discusses ocean renewable energy sources with NASA Kennedy Space Center employees in the spaceport’s Mission Briefing Room on Oct. 11, 2018. Alsenas is director of the Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.  Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett
Guest speaker Gabriel Alsenas discusses ocean renewable energy sources with NASA Kennedy Space Center employees in the spaceport’s Mission Briefing Room on Oct. 11, 2018. Alsenas is director of the Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.
Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

Although Kennedy Space Center is located just within the shores of the Atlantic Ocean on Florida’s east coast, the spaceport workforce generally focuses its attentions on space hardware – so a “lunch and learn” event highlighting methods to harness the ocean’s energy served as a learning opportunity for employees.

Guest speaker Gabriel Alsenas is director of the Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. He joined employees in Kennedy’s Mission Briefing Room on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, to detail the amount of untapped power in the world’s oceans. Energy from ocean currents off the U.S. east coast could power 15 million American homes – more than all the households in Florida, South Carolina and North Carolina combined. Wave and tidal energy also are potential power sources.

The “lunch and learn” event is one of two scheduled during October in conjunction with Energy Awareness Month. The program aims to recognize the importance of energy management for our national prosperity, security and environmental sustainability.

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.

NASA’s ICON launch now targeted for Oct. 26

NASA and Northrop Grumman are now targeting Friday, Oct. 26, 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 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 launch was postponed from Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018, to allow time to address a quality issue with a vendor-supplied electrical connector on the launch vehicle, which has been resolved.
Photo Credit: NASA

ICON Launch Delayed; New Launch Date to Come

ICON spacecraft artist renderingNASA and Northrop Grumman have decided to delay the launch of the agency’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, to allow time to address a quality issue with a vendor-supplied electrical connector on the launch vehicle. Northrop Grumman does not expect an extended delay and will work with the range to determine a new launch date. The ICON spacecraft will launch aboard a Northrop Grumman Pegasus XL rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Photo credit: NASA

NASA Administrator Meets Kennedy Space Center Employees

Administrator Tours Kennedy Space Center
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, left, made his first official visit to the agency’s Kennedy Space Center on Monday, Aug. 6, 2018. His up-close look at the premier, multi-user spaceport began with Center Director Bob Cabana giving the administrator a helicopter tour over the bustling Florida spaceport that included the center’s Industrial Area.
Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine made his first official visit to the agency’s Kennedy Space Center on Aug. 6 and 7 for an up-close look at the premier, multi-user spaceport.

Bridenstine’s visit began with Center Director Bob Cabana giving the administrator a helicopter tour of the bustling Florida spaceport.

During an all hands meeting for Bridenstine to speak with employees, Cabana commented on the spaceport’s shift.

“The transition that you all have made in the last seven years since (space shuttle) Atlantis made its final fight has been nothing short of phenomenal,” he said. “I’ve had the privilege the past two days to share the work that you all have accomplished with our new NASA administrator, who is passionate about what we do.”

Administrator views Vehicle Assembly Building
During his helicopter tour of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Administrator Jim Bridenstine gets an up-close view of the iconic Vehicle Assembly Building.
Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

Bridenstine also thanked Kennedy employees for their part in the recent changes.

“You have transitioned splendidly,” Bridenstine said. “When you look at how Kennedy has handled the challenge and how you have turned this into a multi-user spaceport with commercial and other partners, I’m inspired and in awe.”

For nearly half a century, Kennedy operated as a NASA-only space center. As the Space Shuttle Program came to an end, Kennedy began preparing to support NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft. Anticipation of an emerging commercial space industry resulted in center leadership developing an innovative concept of a multi-user spaceport to change focus from a big government, NASA-only space center to the agency partnering with other organizations.

The administrator also spoke of the crucial role NASA plays in everyday life around the globe.

“Space is important to our everyday lives,” he said. “Look at how space has transformed all of our lives. You look at the way we communicate, the way we navigate, the way we produce food, the way we produce energy, the way we do disaster relief in this country and the world, the way we provide national security and defense, every person in our country and every human on the planet has benefited from what NASA has done.”

In addition to touring Kennedy facilities, Bridenstine participated in an Industry Roundtable hosted by the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast and Space Florida. He later met with members of the news media in the center’s Space Florida’s Space Life Sciences Lab facility.