Launch Date: On Hold Launch Window: TBA Launch Vehicle: Pegasus XL Launch Operator: Orbital-ATK Launch Site: L-1011 Air Launch, Kwajalein Atoll Payload: ICON (Ionospheric Connection Explorer) Payload Operator: NASA An air-launched Pegasus XL rocket operated by Orbital-ATK will launch NASA's Ionospheric Connection
|Launch Date:||On Hold|
|Launch Vehicle:||Pegasus XL|
|Launch Site:||L-1011 Air Launch, Kwajalein Atoll|
|Payload:||ICON (Ionospheric Connection Explorer)|
An air-launched Pegasus XL rocket operated by Orbital-ATK will launch NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) to begin a study of Earth’s ionosphere, a vitally important region when attempting to understand the dynamics between Earth’s atmosphere and solar weather. ICON sets out to reveal the mechanisms of ionospheric disturbances caused by solar storms or terrestrial weather activity in the upper atmosphere which can have implications on the operation of satellites and the propagation of radio waves.
The L-1011 aircraft carrying the Pegasus XL rocket will take off from the Kawajalein Atoll and send the vehicle onto an ascent over the Pacific Ocean to deploy the 291-Kilogram spacecraft is be deployed into a circular orbit 575 Kilometers in altitude, inclined 27°. Staging operations (spacecraft processing, launch vehicle assembly) will take place at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
Delayed Indefinitely due to Launcher Issues:
NASA is postponing launch of the Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) until 2018. The mission was previously planned to launch Dec. 8, 2017, on an Orbital ATK Pegasus XL rocket from the Reagan Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. NASA and Orbital ATK need additional time to assess a separation component of the rocket. More information on a revised launch date will be provided once it becomes available.
🚀 Launch Vehicle Overview: Pegasus XL
Launch Date: March 21, 2018 Launch Window: TBA Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9 FT Launch Operator: SpaceX Launch Site: SLC-4E Vandenberg Air Force Base, California 1st Stage Recovery: RTLS to SLC-4W (TBC) Payload: 5 Iridium-NEXT, GRACE-FO 1 & 2 Payload Operator: Iridium Communications / GFZ/NASA
|Launch Date:||March 21, 2018|
|Launch Vehicle:||Falcon 9 FT|
|Launch Site:||SLC-4E Vandenberg Air Force Base, California|
|1st Stage Recovery:||RTLS to SLC-4W (TBC)|
|Payload:||5 Iridium-NEXT, GRACE-FO 1 & 2|
|Payload Operator:||Iridium Communications / GFZ/NASA|
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch five Iridium-NEXT mobile communications satellites and a pair of gravity-sensing satellites into Low Earth Orbit on a shared ride between Iridium Communications and GRACE-FO operators GFZ and NASA. SpaceX has been contracted to deploy 75 Iridium-NEXT satellites with deployment occurring in batches of ten, meaning one Falcon 9 would fly with half a load, leaving surplus performance for a co-passenger. The two GRACE Follow-On Satellites are flying as an extension of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment that has been tracking Earth’s gravitational field since 2002 and is headed into retirement in late 2017. GRACE shows how mass is distributed around the planet and its variation over time, allowing for modeling of Earth’s oceans, geology and climate.
The Iridium satellites are headed to orbit in the continued effort to replace the entire heritage Iridium constellation with upgraded satellites supporting global communications, aeronautical monitoring and ship tracking.
🚀 Launch Vehicle Overview: Falcon 9 FT
🛰 Payload Overview: Iridium-NEXT Satellite & Constellation
Previous Iridium-NEXT Missions:
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