A NASA satellite created to precisely measure changes in the earth's ice sheets, glaciers, sea ice and vegetation has been launched into polar orbit from California.
Team Vandenberg successfully launched a Delta II rocket carrying NASAs ICESat-2 payload from Space Launch Complex-2 here, Saturday, September 15, at 6:02 a.m. PDT. Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems built the satellite, which weighed 1,514 kilograms at launch.
Known as laser altimetry, ATLAS is a rather exceptional example of LIDAR's space-based utility and has been created to reliably measure ice-sheet elevation changes of as little as 4mm per year, despite the fact that it will orbit 500 km (310 mi) above Earth's surface at a velocity of 7.8 km/s (4.9 mi/s).More news: North Carolina Feels First Bite Of Hurricane Florence
The laser is created to fire 10,000 times per second, divided into six beams of hundreds of trillions of photons.
The preceding mission, ICESat, launched in 2003 and ended in 2009. "The instrument, the ATLAS instrument, took longer than we thought".
NASA on Saturday launched its most advanced laser device into space to measure changes in the heights of Earth's polar ice, as well as other topographical features.
"The Delta II rocket has been a venerable workhorse for NASA and civilian scientists, the US military, and commercial clients throughout its nearly 30 years of service", said Bruno, ULA president and CEO.More news: Toyota Yaris GR Sport revealed ahead of Paris debut
The first Delta II was launched in 1989 from Florida with the first California launch in 1995. If it goes up without a hitch, it will be the 100th successful launch in a row. "We used to put stars on the vehicle to represent the number of successful launches we had, but several years ago we took those stars off", said Scott Messer, manager of NASA programs at ULA, during the prelaunch briefing.
"I'm a little bit sad". "Delta 2 holds a really special place in so many folks' hearts".
Originally built by McDonnell Douglass, the rockets are now run by United Launch Alliance, which still launches payloads with the Atlas rockets and is designing a new rocket, the Vulcan Centaur.
If all proceeds to plan, the Delta II's second stage AJ10-118K engine will reignite for 6 seconds at 47 minutes into the mission before deploying ICESat-2 into orbit.More news: Florence, a wet and unwanted visitor, besieges Carolinas