Earth Observation Mission News
ICON begins study of Earth’s Ionosphere
10 October 2019
A Northrop Grumman Pegasus XL rocket launched NASA's Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, satellite at 9:59 p.m. EDT on 10 October from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) to study the dynamic zone in our atmosphere where terrestrial weather from below meets space weather from above.
The satellite was attached to the Pegasus XL rocket, which hitched a ride on the company's L-1011 Stargazer aircraft. Once the aircraft reached an altitude of 39,000 feet, the rocket was dropped, with ignition occurring five seconds after.
Image credit: NASA/Frank Michaux - Northrop Grumman's L-1011 Stargazer aircraft, with the company's Pegasus XL rocket attached beneath, takes off with NASA's Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) secured inside the rocket's payload fairing.