NASA ICON Launch Delayed Again

Tiffany Meier
By Tiffany Meier
November 7, 2018Science & Tech
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NASA’s latest mission to explore the atmosphere at the edge of space, is on hold, again.

After delays in the mission, NASA planned to try again on the morning of Nov. 7, to launch Northrop Grunmman’s Pegasus XL, a unique rocket that launches mid-air after being lofted from a plane.

On Wednesday, the Stargazer L-1011 carrier plane carrying NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer satellite, or ICON, had already taken off, before technical difficulties with the rocket caused delays.

Originally, the launch was going to be Oct. 26, but NASA wanted to run more tests.

ICON’s mission is to study earth’s ionosphere, a level of earth’s uttermost atmosphere ionized by the sun’s radiation.

The satellite will orbit about 360 miles above the earth. It will use four different instruments to track how earth’s winds and the sun’s own solar wind, shape the ionosphere above the planet, NASA officials said.

Scientists are hoping that the $242 million ICON will help them understand how those winds impact the GPS signals we send through the ionosphere.

The next opportunity for ICON’s launch is on Thursday, Nov. 8, NASA officials said.

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