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.

ICESat-2: Tower Rollback Friday, Live Launch Coverage Saturday

The ICESat-2 mission will measure the changing height of Earth’s glaciers, ice sheets and sea ice, one laser pulse at a time, 10,000 laser pulses per second. Credit: NASA

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 EDGE Tower Rollback Show, Friday, Sept. 14, at 6 p.m. PDT (9 p.m. EDT)
Watch live at:
NASA TV: www.nasa.gov/nasalive
NASA EDGE Facebook: www.facebook.com/nasaedgefan
NASA LSP Facebook: www.facebook.com/NASALSP
NASA EDGE YouTube: www.youtube.com/NASAedge
NASA EDGE Ustream: www.usream.tv/nasaedge

Guests:

  • Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington
  • Doug McLennan, ICESat-2 project manager, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
  • Kelly Brunt, ICESat-2 science team member, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
  • Rex Engelhardt, mission manager, NASA’s Launch Services Program
  • Mic Woltman, chief, Fleet Systems Integration Branch, NASA’s Launch Services Program
  • Tim Dunn, launch director, NASA Kennedy Space Center
  • Tom Neumann, ICESat-2 deputy project scientist, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
  • Donya Douglas-Bradshaw, ATLAS instrument project manager, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
  • Dana VanDersaral, mission assurance team, United Launch Alliance

Live Launch Coverage, Saturday, Sept. 15, 5:10 a.m. PDT (8:10 a.m. EDT)
Join us for updates from the countdown, here on the blog and on NASA TV.

ICESat-2 Prelaunch Mission Briefing Today

The ICESat-2 mission will measure the changing height of Earth’s glaciers, ice sheets and sea ice, one laser pulse at a time, 10,000 laser pulses per second. Credit: NASA

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.

About the ICESat-2 Launch Window

The ICESat-2 mission will measure the changing height of Earth’s glaciers, ice sheets and sea ice, one laser pulse at a time, 10,000 laser pulses per second. Credit: NASA

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.

Launch Week Arrives for ICESat-2

The ICESat-2 mission will measure the changing height of Earth’s glaciers, ice sheets and sea ice, one laser pulse at a time, 10,000 laser pulses per second. Credit: NASA

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’s ICON launch now targeted for Oct. 6

ICON spacecraft artist renderingNASA 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.

Liftoff of NASA’s Parker Solar Probe

Liftoff of the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket carrying NASA's Parker Solar Probe, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018.
Liftoff of the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket carrying NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018. Image credit: NASA TV

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.

For more on the mission, visit https://www.nasa.gov/parkersolarprobe.

Launch of NASA’s ICON Satellite Postponed

Artist image of NASA's ICON satellite.NASA and Northrop Grumman have postponed the launch of the agency’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) satellite. ICON, which will study the frontier of space, was targeted to launch on a Pegasus XL rocket June 14 from the Kwajalein Atoll in Marshall Islands.

During a ferry transit, Northrop Grumman saw off-nominal data from the Pegasus rocket. While ICON remains healthy, the mission will return to Vandenberg Air Force Base in California for rocket testing and data analysis. A new launch date will be determined at a later date.

InSight Headed for Mars Following Launch on Atlas V

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex 3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, carrying NASA's Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, or InSight, Mars lander.
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket rises above a layer of thick fog blanketing central California during liftoff from Space Launch Complex 3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base. The Atlas V carried NASA’s InSight spacecraft, which is embarking on a mission to land on Mars and study the planet’s interior. Liftoff was at 4:05 a.m. PDT (7:05 a.m. EDT). Photo credit: NASA/Cory Huston

NASA’s InSight spacecraft successfully launched Saturday, May 5, aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. Liftoff from Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California took place at 4:05 a.m. PDT (7:05 a.m. EDT), the mission’s earliest launch opportunity. Also on board were two CubeSats, together called Mars Cube One, or MarCO, a technology demonstration.