Published: Mon, September 17, 2018
Science | By Cecil Little

ULA readies its last Delta II to launch NASA's ICESat-2 mission

ULA readies its last Delta II to launch NASA's ICESat-2 mission

NASA has launched a satellite created to precisely measure changes in Earth's ice sheets, glaciers, sea ice and vegetation.

A United Launch Alliance Delta 2 rocket rises from its launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, carrying NASA's ICESAT-2 satellite into orbit.

The mission is a successor to the original Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite that operated from 2003 to 2009.

Over the course of its career, Delta II has managed an impressive ~99% success rate, launching dozens of successful scientific missions to explore asteroids, comets, the Moon, the sun, exoplanets, Mars, and more.

Brexit and Theresa May's hard task
Khan said Britain was now facing either a bad deal or a no-deal Brexit, both of which were "incredibly risky". Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street in London on September 12, 2018.


The ICESat-2 satellite undergoes tests one last time before it is placed in the rocket.

By measuring the time it takes the photons to complete a round trip - about 3.3 thousandths of a second - scientists can calculate how far away an ice surface is, compare it to surrounding areas and determine its relative height and thickness. The launch window will remain open for 2.5 hours, with a backup window available on Sunday morning. "And this is important, since an elevation change of just a centimeter over an ice sheet the size of Antarctica represents a tremendous amount of water, either gains to or loss from the ice sheet - 140 gigatons worth".

Measurements continued since then with airborne instruments.

A Delta 2 rocket lifted off September 15 carrying a NASA Earth science satellite on the final flight of a vehicle whose heritage dates back to the beginning of the Space Age. ULA will have to rely even more heavily on its workhorse rocket, the Atlas V. Many of those spacecraft are still operational to this day, with some of the most noteworthy examples being Dawn (orbiting Ceres, the largest asteroid in the solar system), Kepler (the first dedicated space-based exoplanet observatory), and the beleaguered Mars rover Opportunity, now in an unplanned state of hibernation on the Red Planet.

Manchester United put on impressive display to beat Watford
This has led fans to take to twitter and passionately state that Mourinho has been using Rashford wrong all along. So I think in the case of the national team, they play normally with five at the back and two players in attack.


"While the launch today was incredibly exciting, for us scientists the most anticipated part of the mission starts when we switch on the laser and get our first data", said Thorsten Markus, ICESat-2 project scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. NASA contracted the ULA rocket launch for $96.6 million in 2013.

A newly launched NASA satellite will be able to precisely measure changes in the earth's ice sheets. "The instrument, the ATLAS instrument, took longer than we thought". Its ICESat-2 payload separated from the second stage around 53 minutes after liftoff. During its operational life, it also sent up the Kepler telescope, the twin lunar-orbiting GRAIL spacecraft, and a total of 48 Global Positioning System satellites.

Moving in an orbit that goes from pole to pole, ICESat-2 traverses 1,387 different orbital paths every 91 days. The orbits have been set to converge at the 88-degree latitude lines around the poles, to focus the data coverage in the region where scientists expect to see the most changes.

Flooding from Florence swamps neighborhoods
An additional 6 to 10 inches of rain is still possible along the southeast border of North Carolina and SC . Tillis added that it is "very hard to say" when North Carolinians could expect life to return to normal.


Like this: