NASA’s Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2), a mission to measure the changing height of Earth’s ice, is scheduled to launch Saturday, Sept. 15, with a 40-minute window opening at 8:46 a.m. EDT (5:46 a.m. PDT).

The spacecraft will lift off from Space Launch Complex 2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on the final launch of a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket. Coverage of prelaunch and launch activities begins Thursday, Sept. 13, on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

ICESat-2 will carry a single instrument, the Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS), which will send 10,000 laser pulses a second to Earth’s surface and measure the height of ice sheets, glaciers, sea ice and vegetation by calculating the time it takes the pulses to return to the spacecraft. The precise and complete coverage afforded by ICESat-2 will enable researchers to track changes in land and sea ice with unparalleled detail, which will inform our understanding of what drives these changes.

NASA will host a prelaunch briefing at 4 p.m. Sept. 13 with:

Tom Wagner, ICESat-2 program scientist at NASA Headquarters
Doug McLennan, ICESat-2 project manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
Donya Douglas-Bradshaw, ATLAS instrument project manager at Goddard
Tom Neumann, ICESat-2 deputy project scientist at Goddard
Lori Magruder, ICESat-2 science definition team lead at the University of Texas at Austin
Helen Fricker, ICESat-2 science definition team member at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Bill Barnhart, ICESat-2 program manager at Northrop Grumman
Tim Dunn, launch director at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center
Scott Messer, program manager for NASA Programs at United Launch Alliance
1st Lt. Daniel Smith, launch weather officer with the 30th Space Wing at Vandenberg
Media and the public may ask questions during the briefing using #askNASA.

Launch coverage begins at 8:10 a.m. Sept. 15 with a weather update and live interviews leading up to the launch window opening at 8:46 a.m.

Additional information on the mission, and prelaunch and launch events is available at:

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