NASA Observation Satellite Geared for Launch

ICESAT-2 launch

The United Launch Alliance Delta 2 blasted off from Space Launch Complex 2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 9:02 a.m. ET.

NASA's Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2, or ICESat-2, mission and launch teams have concluded a successful Launch Readiness Review.

The final telemetry in Delta II history is expected about 2 hours after launch, sometime prior to the second stage impacting and sinking into the South Pacific Ocean.

This was the 155th Delta II rocket to launch from California and Florida with 45 of those flying from Vandenberg for an assortment of NASA, international, commercial and government missions. (The last failure was in 1997, when a Delta II carrying a Global Positioning System satellite exploded seconds after leaving the pad.) As noted by the Verge, prior payloads have included the Spitzer and Kepler space telescopes, the Spirit and Opportunity Mars rovers, and the original ICESat. Launching from the same air base, ICESat-2 will monitor the planet's polar ice with a new-generation laser instrument dubbed ATLAS (Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System). Data from ICESat-2 will be available to the public through the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

NASA earth science division director Michael Freilich says the mission will advance knowledge of how the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica contribute to sea level rise.

Northrop Grumman designed and built the spacecraft bus, installed the instrument and tested the completed satellite. "More importantly, ICESat-2 will come back and make a repeated measurement every 90 days, so we get a second measurement and we can actually assess change in height and that's what we're really after in the polar regions is looking at surface change", said Kelly Brunt, NASA scientist. Its dense, frequent coverage and high resolution should help detect minute changes in inland ice sheets and shelves, along with the thinning of Arctic and Antarctic sea ice.

The laser is created to fire 10,000 times per second, divided into six beams of hundreds of trillions of photons.

The ICESat-2 mission cost a little over $1 billion and the spacecraft is about the size of a Smart auto.

Measurements will be taken every 2.3 feet (0.7 meters) along the satellite's path.

"This allows the mission to look at the same piece of Earth in each of the four seasons, enabling scientists to use that data to characterize the changes that they're observing", Neumann said. On its last journey into space, the Delta II rocket will also give a ride to a pair of mini-satellites called ELFIN (Electron Losses and Fields Investigation), NASA revealed yesterday.

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Full List of Winners from the 70th Emmy Awards!
Sep 18, 2018 - 10:38
After winning the Emmy for Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, Brosnahan used her acceptance speech to ask Hollywood to vote in the upcoming election.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top WEATHER WARNING: Strong winds could bring travel disruption and power shortages
Sep 17, 2018 - 16:17
Storm Helene will travel up the West Coast on Monday and Tuesday, hitting Wales and travelling through parts of the North West. He added that the oncoming system could become the first named storm of the season if it reaches the necessary criteria.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Palestinian teenager dies from wounds in Gaza unrest
Sep 17, 2018 - 16:16
He was known for his hard-line nationalist ideology and strong support for the Israeli military. Fuld, a father of four, lived in the settlement of Efrat, in the Etzion area.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Oil prices steady after pull-back, up on the week
Sep 17, 2018 - 15:27
It's uncertain whether Saudi Arabia and other producers will fill any shortfall, or how far they're able to do so, the agency said .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top 'Lies and fabrication': United Kingdom attacks novichok tourist claims
Sep 17, 2018 - 15:06
The interview with Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, named as suspects in the Salisbury poisoning, appeared on RT on Thursday. The suspects said they visited Salisbury to see its famous cathedral and did not know Skripal or where he lived.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Trump approves North Carolina disaster declaration for Florence
Sep 16, 2018 - 00:03
George Zaytoun chose not to evacuate his house ahead of the storm, which had been deemed a Category 4 hurricane on Wednesday. The entire area had lost electricity, and some people were in chest-deep water while others retreated to attics, she said.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Florence pours on the rain in the Carolinas, swelling rivers
Sep 15, 2018 - 23:31
More than 60 people had to be rescued in another town as a cinderblock motel collapsed at the height of the storm's fury. At least four people have died, including a mother and baby killed when a tree fell on a house in Wilmington.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Pochettino: 'Lloris was lucky to escape with criminal conviction and fine'
Sep 15, 2018 - 23:16
He veered his auto "towards parked vehicles" before correcting himself and went through a red light, prosecutor Henry Fitch said. The court was told the Spurs goalkeeper provided a sample containing 80 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Sarri says City and Liverpool are leading the race for EPL title
Sep 15, 2018 - 21:09
After a summer of uncertainty at Stamford Bridge, Sarri has steadied the ship somewhat with his ideal start. Former Chelsea captain John Terry admits his ultimate ambition is to manage the club.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Flash flood fears as Storm Florence batters US
Sep 15, 2018 - 18:57
The rest of SC and North Carolina into southwestern Virginia will experience 5 to 10 inches, with isolated totals up to 15 inches. Warnings were issued about the risk of life-threatening flash flooding in parts of North and SC as well as in Virginia.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Big Match Focus: Tottenham v Liverpool
Sep 15, 2018 - 17:30
But of course the game Saturday will be completely different. We all have to make constantly the best of what we've got". They're a very good team, but we are as well.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Justin Bieber & Hailey Baldwin Stop By Marriage Bureau in NYC!
Sep 14, 2018 - 22:45
Justin and Hailey showed up at the courthouse in NYC Thursday and beelined it for the Marriage Bureau. You are the love of my life Hailey Baldwin and I wouldn t want to spend it with anybody else.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top SpaceX signs up first private moon traveler
Sep 14, 2018 - 22:39
Musk's SpaceX and Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic LLC are among companies that are attempting to commercialize space travel. Speculation swirled following the tweet , leading some to believe it might be SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Hurricane Florence makes landfall in Carolinas, threatens catastrophic flood
Sep 14, 2018 - 22:26
Kottyan said they will decide whether to keep some employees on site as Florence's path becomes more clear. On social media, people caught in the storm are posting dramatic videos of flooding and high winds.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Tottenham v Liverpool: Klopp to stay top with Wembley win
Sep 14, 2018 - 20:04
I don't know exactly what it means but to focus on one competition can only be if maybe you are already out of the competition almost .