ICESat-2 lasers pass final ground test

July 10, 2018 by Kate Ramsayer, NASA
ICESat-2 is uncrated inside the airlock of the Astrotech processing facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, prior to a successful series of tests of the satellite and its instrument. Credit: USAF 30th Space Wing/Vanessa Valentine

On June 23, ICESat-2 engineers at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California successfully finished the final ground-based test of the lasers, which are part of the satellite's sole instrument called the Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS). ICESat-2 is scheduled to launch from Vandenberg on Sept. 12, 2018.

ATLAS was built at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and trucked to a Northrop Grumman facility in Arizona where it was integrated with the spacecraft bus that provides power, navigation and communications. The completed satellite arrived at Vandenberg on June 12.

In the Astrotech Space Operations cleanroom at Vandenberg, the ICESat-2 team tested both the spacecraft and instrument. NASA ICESat-2 launch integration manager John Satrom reports that the data from these tests have been reviewed and everything is normal.

Meanwhile at Vandenberg's Space Launch Complex 2 along the Pacific coast, crews from United Launch Alliance are assembling the Delta II rocket that will launch ICESat-2 into . The first and second stage, the interstage connecting them, and four solid rocket motors are in place. The ICESat-2 mission will mark the final launch for the Delta II, which will then be retired.

After the successful completion of another round of "aliveness" tests turning on the satellite and at the end of July, the ICESat-2 payload is scheduled to head to the in late August, according to Satrom.

The second stage of the United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket is lifted high up at the Vertical Integration Facility, at left, at Space Launch Complex 2 on June 21, 2018, at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The second stage will be attached to the top of the booster, or first stage of the rocket, which is being moved out of the Mobile Service Tower, at right. Credit: NASA/Randy Beaudoin

Explore further: NASA selects launch services for ICESat-2 mission

Related Stories

NASA selects launch services for ICESat-2 mission

February 26, 2013

NASA's Launch Services Program at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida has selected United Launch Services, LLC of Englewood, Colo., to provide Delta II launch services for the Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite ...

NASA's ICESat-2 preps for laser tests

August 17, 2017

Lasers that will fly on NASA's Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2, or ICESat-2, are about to be put to the test at the agency's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

NASA InSight mission to Mars arrives at launch site

March 1, 2018

NASA's InSight spacecraft has arrived at Vandenberg Air Force Base in central California to begin final preparations for a launch this May. The spacecraft was shipped from Lockheed Martin Space, Denver, today and arrived ...

NASA space laser completes 2,000-mile road trip

February 28, 2018

Once in orbit after it launches this fall, NASA's ICESat-2 satellite will travel at speeds faster than 15,000 miles per hour. Last week, the satellite's instrument began its journey toward space riding a truck from Maryland ...

NASA lining up ICESat-2's laser-catching telescope

November 3, 2014

To catch individual laser photons that have travelled more than 600 miles from a satellite to Earth and back, the satellite's telescope needs to be perfectly positioned. Last week, engineers and technicians at NASA's Goddard ...

Recommended for you

Where to search for signs of life on Titan

July 20, 2018

New findings, published in the journal Astrobiology, suggest that large craters are the prime locations in which to find the building blocks of life on Saturn's largest moon, Titan.

Did a rogue star change the makeup of our solar system?

July 20, 2018

A team of researchers from the Max-Planck Institute and Queen's University has used new information to test a theory that suggests a rogue star passed close enough to our solar system millions of years ago to change its configuration. ...

Traveling to the sun: Why won't Parker Solar Probe melt?

July 19, 2018

This summer, NASA's Parker Solar Probe will launch to travel closer to the Sun, deeper into the solar atmosphere, than any mission before it. If Earth was at one end of a yard-stick and the Sun on the other, Parker Solar ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.